Family Spotlight: Charlene
When Charlene completed our Interim Housing program, formerly New Life Community, in 2000, the staff was confident that she would be a success, but they had no idea just how successful she would be. Charlene was the first graduate to participate in our ACCESS program. Thanks to a generous donation, this program allows a graduate who is working full-time to reduce his or her working hours while attending school, with the organization making up the salary that is lost by working part-time.
Our families gain many employment skills in their time at Family Promise, but it is difficult for them to continue their education while working, because of their responsibilities as parents and heads of households. In Charlene’s case, it was extremely difficult because she was providing for eight children.
Not only did Charlene not see her children as a barrier, they were her inspiration when she enrolled in nursing school. She began to incorporate her school work into her family’s routine, with mom and the children all sitting down to do homework together. This was not just so that Charlene could study, but also to set a positive example for her children. She recalls falling asleep after work one afternoon only to have one of her children wake her and time for all of them to do homework. Two of her children are now enrolled in college.
Charlene recently completed her nursing degree, but not before being offered a nursing job at the Cleveland Clinic for a substantial increase in pay. When she called us to share the news, she said the hardest part of the interview and job offer was acting like she regularly received offers of that magnitude.
With help from our supporters, Charlene has truly transitioned to a self-sufficient life for herself and her children.