Much has happened since Warren County Interfaith Hospitality Network (WC-IHN) first opened its doors just a little over a year ago. Most of our energies have gone toward our first priority: helping our families get into new homes. One of the casualties has been the posting of our stories of hope, but now it’s time to catch up and share the good news!
Most know that on November 9th, 2008 our first family moved into their new home – truly a cause for celebration. They have continued to stay in touch, and recently, Pauline wrote to let us know that they are all doing great. Steve has started a new career with a local glass company, and both of the girls are looking forward to getting back to school. As Pauline describes it,
“We are embarking on an incredible journey together!”
They love hearing from the many friends they made while they were with WC-IHN. If you’d like to offer them a word of encouragement, just let us know and we’ll put you in touch.
There are other encouraging stories we’ll be sharing, so stay tuned. And if you have some stories of your own experiences with WC-IHN, let us know — we’d love to hear them.
One of our moms recently shared that she has always had “words in her head” but it’s only since she’s been with WC-IHN that she has been able to write them down. Here is one of the poems written since she and her family came to stay with us.
A picture of perfect light
Stronger and stronger
We ask for proper showing,
So we can keep the
Light shining bright
Even when we tried and
Then, after realizing our
Mistakes, then and only then
Do we prevail.
Knowing our talents of who
To make amends – so our
children stay out of the
darkness and will shine
again as bright as the
For our children are us when
they become successful.
We are their fondation-
For they are our future.
Our future looks bright
Our children are our Light.
A recent volunteer shared how an evening with our families changed her life, and helped her realize her own “true calling:”
I just wanted to let you know how WELL the dinner went last night! The children had a great time laughing and playing together just “being kids.” Liz* had tears in eyes as she told me that in that moment it was the “happiest she had seen Joey in weeks.”
Mary and Tom were very sweet. They have felt well fed and taken care of. They were extremely thankful to all who have been involved with their care. Their daughter Susan enjoyed playing the piano all night as sister Sandy made beaded necklaces and friendship bracelets with my daughter.
I myself was very touched by Liz’s story. She recognized me as one of the nurses on the maternity floor at HMC where her 3 children were born. We immediately connected. She proceeded to tell me of her baby lost to SIDS. We cried together and held each other. I felt such pain for her as a mother myself. I only hope that our conversation helped heal her heart in some way. What amazing strength she has. I admire her in so many ways. I have to say I held my baby son a little more closely last night.
As it was time to leave I gathered my children. They said their goodbye’s. Upon leaving my 6yo son whispered “but we haven’t met the homeless children yet, Mommy.” This struck up a conversation in which a deep lesson was learned. Homelessness indeed has no “face.”
Needless to say, I was very moved by the evening. I did not go into the church last night knowing how different I would feel walking out. How “touched” and “affected” I had become. It was not that long into the evening before I realized that I had found my calling within the church. I have been a member for almost 2 years. Always searching / wondering where my “duties” belonged. Our pastor spoke about “true callings” one Sunday morning within the church. I was disheartened because I sat there in the pew feeling kind of empty because mine had yet to be revealed to me. I feel confident now that I have found it.
So, officially….I would be pleased to join the IHN committee / family if you will have me. I will be e-mailing Bob and signing up for the volunteer course. In the meantime… if you need any more assistance…please let me know. Sarah
* Names of families changed to protect their privacy
Three and a half years of hard work and countless obstacles. Tough times when many felt close to giving up, and others wondered if we were attempting the impossible. Then on Sunday, July 7, 2008 — appropriately on Independence Day weekend — the “impossible” finally happened. Warren County Interfaith Hospitality Network opened its doors to its first family, a mom and dad with two daughters, ages 9 and 12.
The family had lived in the same residence for nine years, never expecting to wind up homeless. They were evicted after dad was laid off from work, and mom lost her childcare and then her job, too. But their circumstances began to change for the good almost immediately after being welcomed into the program. During the first week, dad got his job back. During the second week, he was promoted to assistant manager.
It was worth the wait. It was worth the work. Already, one family is on their way to getting back on their feet and into a new home.