August 2012 Posts

Hey, did you know mentoring changes lives?

Written by: Aneta Storvik, Public Relations Coordinator

Imagine your friend passing away leaving two beautiful children in the hands of the court system. What would you do? Would you fight for custody of those children? That’s exactly what one woman did. Shannen spent her savings on lawyers to gain custody of her best friends children. Her efforts were well worth it; she prevented them from going into the foster care system.

But today, Shannen is fighting another battle –  fighting to provide a home for her new family. Through the Family and Senior Homeless Initiative (FSHI), she has hope! Shannen is waiting for a mentor team through FSHI to help her build a stable home once again.

FSHI empowers Metro Denver homeless families and seniors toward self-sufficiency through mentoring and deposit/first month’s rent assistance. Right now, there are 23 homeless families and seniors are waiting for mentor teams.

Mentor teams provide relational, physical and spiritual support to participating families and seniors. Make a difference in the life of a needy family or senior – it’s worth it for all involved.

When you mentor a family, you help them gain back get control of their life! “It  felt so good being back in a home you can call your own, and it’s so important to have a roof over your kids’ head,” Shirley, FSHI mentee family, relays. “Having mentor team was awesome too. They gave me so much good insight, and were never judgmental. I haven’t met anyone involved with this program who had a bad attitude.”

“We find it very rewarding for us,” expressed Marilyn, a past mentor. “We just like to help the families get on their feet.”

Want to help? Call 303.313.2440. for more information or visit www.FSHI.org.

 

{Guest Blogger} The Good Neighbor

Written by: Kari Sanders

The year was 1997. My husband and I had moved to Riverside, California, so that I could pursue a graduate degree. The financial end of things did not work out for me, so I left the graduate program and started looking for a job. Even with an engineering degree, the process took a over month and a half. So, I was frequently home during the day while my husband was at work and met Christine- my neighbor.

We shared a balcony, but little conversation. One afternoon, Christine poked her head in to ask if I could help her fax a resume. I agreed – I could have told her about the library resources at the school or other places, but I decided to invite her over. We worked on her resume together, wrote a cover letter, and I helped her fax it from my computer to several potential employers.  As a thank-you, she made me an ice cream float, and we spent some time talking on the balcony.

During our first, more personal, conversation, Christine told me about who she had come to Riverside after running away from an abusive relationship. Her husband had been abusive to her, and she was concerned he would become abusive toward the children. One day, they had an altercation in which she was threatened with significant harm. She packed up the kids while he was out of the house and traveled from Oregon to California. She and the children spent several nights in a women’s shelter until she could get the apartment in Riverside.

My invitation to allow my neighbor to use my computer and fax machine allowed Christine to pursue new opportunities. It was simple, yet helped change the course of her life.

Today, I am not in contact with Christine, but her story stayed with me. Her story reminded me that it doesn’t take much to turn your life upside down – what happened to her could happen to anyone. I learned that a hand up combined with a lot of determination is all that’s needed to get life back on track.

I believe the work  Denver Rescue Mission does is extremely important for our community – they are one of the places determined people who just need a hand up can turn to when it seems all other doors have closed. I want to help ensure that the organization is always there – for the people who need it, for people like Christine, for people like those I knew growing up who struggled – and, one never knows – maybe even for me someday.

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Thank you, Kari for sharing your experiences! If you’d like to share your experiences about being a good neighbor, please submit a short essay to Aneta Storvik, AStorvik@DenRescue.org.