A Mother’s Day to Remember
May 12, 2001. That date may not mean much to you, but it meant everything to Gwen Pond. It was the date she and her young children moved into their new home after spending nearly two months at Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cleveland. And that meant the next morning, she and her children awoke to celebrate Mother’s Day in their own home. Amid hand-made cards and hugs and kisses, Gwen’s family looked to the future that day. “It was a beautiful day, and I’ve remembered it every Mother Day’s since,” Gwen says.
Gwen kept in touch with IHN over the years and reached out for support as she needed it. Gwen eventually earned her associate’s degree, progressed in her career in dietary service, and the children grew. When her oldest son, Dalontai, needed community service hours for high school they naturally thought of IHN. We matched Dalontai with our Welcome Home program, delivering donated furnishings to newly housed guests. He’s continued to volunteer, long after he fulfilled his service hour requirement and has become one of our most loyal volunteers. Dalontai still shows up each month to help because he says he loves to see the kids’ happy faces when the furniture van arrives at their new home.
From the little boy playing at IHN, Dalontai has grown to be a remarkable young man. He is an honors student and was accepted at every college he applied to. He’ll attend Edinboro College this Fall, taking the first step towards his career in special education. Dalontai is living what he learned as an IHN guest, serving others in need.