For this year’s Great Give campaign, we will be providing a behind the scenes look at the vital programming you support. Our first feature focuses on housing stability and how it relates directly to our families ability to grow and thrive in life. We caught up with Adopt-A-Family’s Jessica Pagan and Priscilla Carter to learn more.
Tell us a bit about your work. What are some of the key goals of your program? How do you help vulnerable families in Project SAFE and Wiley Reynolds Gardens Apartments?
Jessica Pagan (JP): We provide housing for people who otherwise would not have a home. Children in our programs are able to come home from school and have a place to truly call their own. Click To Tweet Something as simple as turning on the lights and having them work properly is a luxury many of these children and families have not experienced recently.
If families have existing employment skills, we help them find jobs and increase their income. We also place a strong emphasis on helping families pursue or advance their education. Our ultimate goal for our families is to help them move on to housing without supportive services being necessary. We want them to live with full independence.
Why is it so important that this work is being done in Palm Beach County?
JP: There are lots of school-aged children in Palm Beach County who don’t have a consistent and stable place to sleep at night. These students are jumping from place to place, living situation to living situation—and are all in need and deserve a home. If you can help a family in getting their children housed, their odds to succeed in school go up exponentially. It’s hard to imagine in Palm Beach County that homelessness even exists. It is happening. We’re at the forefront of this reality.
Priscilla Carter (PC): Our work definitely helps to eliminate the number of school dropouts. That’s one thing that stands out to me as critically important to our work each and every day. Older kids feel responsible to work and support the family—they are often left with no other option other than dropping out to work full-time. When they have a stable home that we provide here at Adopt-A-Family, they can focus on growth and success in school without worrying about living in “crisis mode.”
Is there a recent success story that exemplifies the Project SAFE model for families to grow?
PC: There is one success story that stands out to me right away. This is a family that came here with very little and recently became homeowners! Both the client and her husband ended up earning their high school diploma while at Project SAFE. The mom also returned to school and graduated with a medical credential to serve as a nursing assistant. Only weeks ago, the family moved out of the program and closed on a home in Port St. Lucie. Though the family still dealt with challenges in life while in the program, they utilized all the tools, lessons, and resources Adopt-A-Family had to offer. The entire family took advantage of counseling services and increased income in the household. They earned the opportunity to own a home of their own.
JP: This story exemplifies what success looks like in Project SAFE. The key is education. Each time we see a family fully invest in educational opportunities, we see success. Families come to us with few resources and income. When they receive the care and supportive services they need and deserve, great outcomes become the reality.
Speaking on behalf of the families, what’s one thing that you’d like to share with the Palm Beach County community that they may not know about?
Adopt-A-Family Quotable – I think it’s important not to categorize or label people. Even though many families in our Project SAFE and Wiley programs come to us without an education or opportunities that most may have, all of the families we serve have resilience. They want a better life for their entire family. So many of our young kids have experienced life without a home. This would be unimaginable for so many people out there. If I had one wish it would be to ensure our entire community is at least aware families are struggling in our community. Awareness is key. -Jessica Pagan
Adopt-A-Family Quotable – One thing I frequently tell my new clients is that they are not a product of their experiences or situation. Yes, they were homeless when they came to Adopt-A-Family but homelessness does not define who you are. You are greater than that. Our aim is to pull out that secret piece inside that is strong. Families are so stuck in crisis that they may forget their strengths. Our job is to motivate and help families achieve what they once didn’t think was possible. – Priscilla Carter
Our 2017 Great Give mission statement: Housing stability creates opportunities for our families. When you give your heart during this year’s Great Give, our families and children will thrive. We can only impact the lives of families with you. Create the opportunity for our families and children to grow. #GiveAAF17 during the Great Give.
This blog is part one of an ongoing series that aims to give our community a closer look at the programming they will directly support during this year’s Great Give. Stay tuned for additional features on our self-sufficiency programming and educational programming. Throughout the campaign, you will also hear straight from our families on how their lives have been impacted by Adopt-A-Family. To view our Great Give fundraising page, click the logo below. To help share this feature, please click the Twitter or Facebook share icons below.