While a resident at the Northwest Center, I was able to continue my college studies, while provide a safe upbringing for my son. We came into the home when my son was just six weeks old and we left when he was about 14 months old, two months after I graduated college and was leaving for my first corporate job. The NWC helped make sure I was prepared with a safe place to live, great daycare, easily accessible public transportation, it aligned me with professional and career mentors from Georgetown University, helped me learn the importance of being very disciplined with healthy eating and cooking habits, while also making sure that I used every resource that was available to me. The NWC linked me up with scholarships, stipends and any other resource that could give me any kind of competitive edge towards succeeding against the odds. I thank God that I was able to get into that program and I don't even want to imagine if it did not exist for me and my son. This is an incredible place and home for women and children who are in a stage of transition and need additional help and guidance through life's adversities from making poor life choices. The Northwest Center gives a woman hope and helps her feel like there is a new day coming.
I am a single father and when my son was a week old I found myself in a situation I never imagined being in. I developed several mental health disorders, had lost my job, and my son's mother left him in my care. With no family to ask for help, I was referred to the Northwest Center by some friends who told me I could get free diapers there. What my son and I received ended up being far more significant and life-changing. The friendship and compassion the center offered us helped me so much during this difficult time. They helped me navigate my way through the complicated social service system. I had no income and they were able to provide my son with books, toys, clothing, a playpen, diapers...there was even food there, and chairs and shelves for his things at home. They provided me with instructional videos and pamphlets, parenting and safety class information and were able to answer any questions I had about parenting or anything I needed from the city. The staff at the center were always there to just talk and share in my enjoyment during each milestone in our lives. Today, our situation has greatly improved and I can honestly say that we wouldn't be where we are today had it not been for the Northwest Center. I think for the rest of my life, even when my son is grown up, I'll always remember the difficulties that we overcame the first few years of his life and those who helped us. I'll remember that I looked for help in virtually every available place in DC...churches, unemployment services, fatherhood organizations/websites, other centers claiming to offer what the Northwest Center does, disability services, food banks, diaper banks and clothing drives, DC Council-members, Latino organizations, even the Mayor's office. Nobody provided what they claimed to offer except the Northwest Center. Anybody affiliated with government services just went through the motions and provided the bare minimum of what they legally had to...but the Northwest Center genuinely cared about us and I think that's what made the biggest difference. I'm forever grateful to them for all they've done for us and we still visit them often to say hi and now we donate our things for their other clients in need.