Families come and go through Families Moving Forward. Many times we hear about how our program has helped them, and even times when it has not. Of course, we often think we know how families feel based on their reactions when they are walking out the door or even from their words. We like to think our program is a good model for families experiencing homelessness because of all the volunteers, congregations and communities working together, but we know there are still very real struggles for every person and family we work with.
It’s very rare to have families that want to return to volunteer or even publicly thank the congregations that provided shelter for them. Recently, a guest named Keisha David approached me about a goal she wants when she exits the program. She longs to know each congregation where she stayed and the names of the host coordinators, in order to send a thank you personally to the congregations. She wants them to know how blessed and thankful she is for providing shelter for her and her family, as well as motivating her to a better place in her life. Please take a moment to read her words of gratitude and know that she is not the only person that feels this way, though she is one who wants to say it publicly while she is still in the program.
-Sakinah Mujahid, Associate Director for Shelter Programs
“When I first thought of about going to a shelter, I felt like I failed my children, because I am a mother, “single mom”, and I was supposed to keep my children safe and protect them. To have been accepted into the Families Moving Forward Program was a step forward from being on the streets or sleeping in my car with my children. After the first week, I began to feel an uplifting spirit from being in a community setting with the other families in the program experiencing homelessness and feelings of hopelessness by being positive to each other. Since being in the program, I’ve become more positive and feel supported by the staff and volunteers. I’ve even seen a change in my children, where I can speak with my teenage son without worry about push back or attitude. Knowing that I have support from staff empowers me to have confidence as a mother. The dinners the congregations served were always awesome and warm. The volunteers made it feel like “home” by coming out with their children and sharing dinner with us, creating a family-orientated atmosphere feeling for us. Coming out in the cold - that means a lot to me, I was thankful each night I went to the host congregations.
One of the days that stood out to me was Christmas Day 2017. I felt blessed and thankful knowing someone left their own warm home, leaving behind family on Christmas to share it with me and my family. That gave me an overwhelming feeling of peace. My children were very appreciative of the gifts donated to them. We were blessed on Christmas Day to be in a safe, comfortable and warm environment. It was a joy to know that we still have good people in this world who care.
Thank you for everything and know that I will not forget your kindness, motivation and blessings during our journey to a stable home.”
Keisha Davis and children (Jah’Ree & Da’Nya)