Nearly three years ago I had the privilege of meeting Danielle, a single mother who had a young daughter and was pregnant with her second child. When she arrived at Genesis Home, Danielle didn’t have much. She had no job, no car, no support system and no idea how she would support her children. What she did have was a strong determination to make a better life for her family.
With support from her Genesis Home Family Services Coordinator and the Durham Circles of Support program, Danielle was empowered to harness that determination and achieve her goals. Today, she has a full-time permanent job with benefits, reliable transportation and stable housing.
Your support is what has helped Genesis Home empower families like Danielle’s. Thanks to you, we are able to provide a warm, caring and safe environment to every family who walks through our doors. I have seen first-hand the impact you make on our families through the money and time you have given. Our parents receive the guidance they need to make better financial and health decisions; our children receive the tutoring they need to make better grades.
From furnishing family suites to buying bus passes for job interviews, every dollar you donate makes an immediate impact. I urge you to continue supporting our efforts by making another donation this year or by volunteering your time. We are grateful to have you as a partner in our efforts to help end homelessness, one family at a time.
"Lean on me, when you're not strong, and I'll be your friend, I help you carry your load...."
We all know this song and that is very essence of Genesis Home's Circles of Support program.
The Circles of Support program pairs trained volunteers with newly housed families giving them encouragement, advice and friendship as they begin their lives after leaving homeless shelters. Located in Durham, NC, Circles is one of three programs that Genesis Home offers to homeless families.
Emma had spent time in one of our partner shelters and was referred to Genesis Home's Circle of Support program once she had attained her voucher for permanent housing. Her job search was a struggle, though, because each time she took in her paper resume she was asked to submit her application online. Emma had never used a computer. When she shared this problem with her Circle, they took action. Meeting a few times a week at the public library they took Emma throught the steps of turning on the computer, to navigating basic sites, setting up email and typing lessons. It wasn't long before Emma was apply to apply for jobs online and secure permanent employment.
Why is this so important?
Emma's story is a perfect example of a circle in action, taking the right steps to help our clients in their transition to stabililty in the first year of housing. Without her Circle, Emma would had struggled terribly, just trying to navigate the process of making a job application. With people by her side, they led her through this challenge, providing her with new skills and confidence.
Our families enter the shelter without a support system, or in the case of the mothers who have fled abusive relationships, they have left damaging relationships behind them. As they begin their stay in our shelter our staff becomes their new support system helping them make the transition to permanent housing and employment. Once housing is established, we do not want our families to feel abandoned and alone in the first months of independent living. That's where Circles of Support comes in, providing staff support partnered with trained volunteers who guide and help the family in the first twelve months of housing.
What does the Support Circle do?
A Support Circle is a team of 4-10 volunteers who work with formerly homeless families on employment, educational, parenting and financial goals with the goal of improving housing stability. Volunteers have assisted the household offering support, mentoring and guidance with the goal of achieving long-term realistic housing, career, financial management and community participation goals. Circles are asked to commit to a household for 12 months.
How does your financial gift help?
Moving into a new home with very few possessions is scary and the expense can be daunting. Our Support Circles help to alleviate the anxiety by offering moral support and encouragement and are sometimes able to find gently used items to begin furnishing the home. With the help of donors like you, we are able to provide some financial support to help a newly housed family make a fresh start.
Supporting a Core Value
We believe in the restoration of dignity. Our clients come to us broken and discouraged. Often they have left everything they have known or owned behind. Our first responsibility is to build up their spirit and skills. Once they are ready to move out on their own, it is equally important to be sure their surroundings give them a sense of dignity and pride. They need to face their children knowing that there will be beds, sheets and blankets. They need to cook for their children with pots, pans and dishes to eat from. The very basic necessities that we take for granted can be the turning points for a feeling of self-respect. Your gift can make that happen.
Am I ready to leave the shelter system?
As homeless families enter our shelter and move from crisis to stability, Genesis Home Staff help them to find permanent housing and employment in our community. We continue to follow-up with them for six months after they leave the shelter and the very best way to give them that extra layer of security in their new lives in through Circles of Support Program.
One of the primary reasons a family moves into a shelter is that they do not have a support system in the community to rely on for help. If you are a single mother with children who is escaping domestic violence, you need to become invisible. Many of the parents who escaped abuse cut off all ties with former friends and relatives for their own safety.
But, then the day comes when a job is in place, housing is secured and its time to leave the shelter and there isn't one person that you can write down on your exit form as an emergency contact. Scary, isn't it?
That's where Circles of Support comes in.
What is a Support Circle?
A Support Circle is a team of 4-10 volunteers who work with formerly homeless families or individuals on employment, educational, parenting and financial goals with the goal of improving housing stability. Volunteers assist the household offering support, mentoring and guidance with the goal of achieving long-term realistic housing, career, financial management and community participation goals. Circles are asked to commit to a newly housed family for 12 months.
What impact does a financial gift have for the Circles of Support Program?
Moving into a new home is costly. Genesis Home supports newly housed families by helping with the first payments such as the security deposit on an apartment, paying the first utility bills, or purchasing furniture and supplies. That "client support" helps a newly housed family get back on their feet. The "Circles of Support" team acts as advisers for the new family in making decisions on those first payments.
There are 1.6 million homeless children in America. On average we serve 38 families per year, both in our shelter and in our outreach programs. Providing shelter is only the first step in a family's move to stability. Won't you join us in our efforts to give these families security?
Your gift will help train volunteers and help pay for the absolute necessities in setting up a home for a newly housed family. We know we can't change the 1.6 number today. But we can end homelessness-one family at a time.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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Director of Development