What a month it has been for Families Forward Charlotte. All the hard work our volunteers have put into making a difference in the lives of the families we support has manifest this month and we could not be more joyful. Check out the stories below to see how you’re making an impact!
Latoya & Greg
When Latoya, Greg and their kindergarten daughter, Sophia, were introduced to us through their school Guidance Counselor they were classified as McKinney-Vento, which means that they were homeless or almost homeless. At the time they were living in a weekly room rental with no real kitchen. Latoya was working hard going to school full time for her bachelors degree in IT and Greg was working in the kitchen at a restaurant Uptown but not making enough to secure a rental. Families Forward Charlotte connected Latoya and Greg with volunteer Liaisons through our Family Assistance Program. Their Liaisons, Chuck and Linda Talmadge, worked with them on digging into the “whys” of their situation and together they made a plan to tackle what they could- specifically increasing income and planning for the future. At their suggestion, Latoya got a hostess job at Greg’s restaurant and through the connections of her Liaisons were given dress clothes to wear for the job. She recently completed her online degree and is now searching for a job through connections that her Liaisons helped provide. Families Forward Charlotte helped Greg get his ServSafe Certification in order to advance at work. He passed his exam with flying colors and soon after got a promotion to work as the Sous Chef at an upscale restaurant in Uptown Charlotte. This new job raised their income and they are now subletting an apartment with a kitchen and a separate room for Sophia to sleep in. Again, their Liaisons stepped in and had furniture donated to furnish their new apartment. When their Liaisons brought in two chairs to the apartment, Sophia exclaimed, "Now we can finally each have our own chair." It was something they hadn’t had before. While Latoya and Greg are now getting by, they are still having to work hard to get to the point of "getting ahead". Their Liaisons are continuing to work with Latoya and Greg on their budget, as Latoya’s student debt will be a hurdle. They attended our Financial Education Workshop in the fall and have been using the skills taught by Common Wealth Charlotte in this workshop to help maintain their budget. Additionally, neither Latoya or Greg have their driver’s license or own transportation, so their Liaisons are working with them on a plan to address that. Their commitment to Families Forward Charlotte’s program and perserverence towards changing their circumstances is something we hope for with every family we work with! And to top it off, Latoya has joined the Families Forward Charlotte Board of Directors to represent the families we serve. Her input and ideas are already providing us with great insight and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with her!
From Chuck and Linda Talmadge: "This is a "rubber meets the road program." Liaisons deal with things like potential homelessness, criminal history, job loss, child care, lack of transportation, debt, unfulfilled promises, lack of responsiveness, and family discordance among others. However, it is a supportive environment where the knowledge, connectivity, and support of a liaison can help needy families cut through bureaucracy and make progress which probably wouldn’t have come without the help of the liaisons and the structure of the Families Forward program."
Ms. Barbara is a grandmother raising her 5 grandkids, who have all experienced significant trauma and loss in their lives. They are a family in our Family Assistance Program and she is working hard to make things better for her family! She attended our Parenting Workshop in March and sent us a text saying:
"My life has been different – my kids have been different. I’m a hard headed, old school (woman) and I learned something that changed our home. I was giving my grandkids mixed signals and making them think they were a burden because even though I would tell them I love them I would say "Y’all are going to make me….". I came home and stopped yelling at them – I talked to them and used "I" statements and their behavior changed. Please let everyone know how thankful I am. I might have been joking around but I heard everything Ms. Martha said and it works! I get what y’all are doing. You are connecting us to people and stuff we need. You are changing lives and you need to keep doing it."
Families Forward Charlotte would like to give a warm Thank You to the organizations and people listed below for their support in our mission this past month!
Thompson Child & Family Focus
Foundation For The Carolinas Char-Meck Community Foundation Grant
Karie Nugent DuVernay
Charlotte Preparatory School 8th Grade Advisory
Winthrop Volleyball Team
Doing My Part
Korrie Wood from KO Designed
We received some great news from a previous FFC father, Koman. We are so excited to hear that he recently received his citizenship. FFC connected him with a recommended attorney who guided him through the process. His family may have "graduated" from our FAP program, but they know we are always available to connect them with resources and help them find success!
Below is the note we received from our Advisory Board member, Rose Smith, who works as the School Social Worker at Hornets Nests Elementary letting us know of Koman’s awesome news:
"As a School Social Worker I’ve researched numerous organizations that could help guide families forward. FFC is literally a dream come true. I’ve seen complete transformations with many of our families. During carpool today one father ran up to me smiling so hard and thanked me for connecting him with FFC. He said my life changed because of you… I just received my citizenship. I had to hold my tears back to finish communicating with him about his hard work and dedication and how his life changed because he utilized the resources and support presented to him. I don’t know where many of our families would be without FFC… myself included."
Families Forward Charlotte needs volunteers to help with childcare at our upcoming workshop on Sunday, April 28th. Please sign up here to volunteer!