"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.
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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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