Latreese graduated from Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area in the spring of 2023. Before coming to our program, she struggled to get a job to support herself and her children. No one could see past her speech impediment. They didn’t see a single mother working hard to provide for her children. They didn’t see a young woman trying to better herself. They just saw a woman who struggled to get her words out. Every employer Latreese went to turned her down after the first interview.
Latreese told us, “I reached out to the program because I was in a bad place at the time. I wasn’t working for quite some time because it was very rough for me to get a job, mainly because nobody could see past my speech impediment. I stutter.”
Finding a job was imperative. Latreese was a single mother facing homelessness. She needed to work. She wanted to work. She wanted to provide for her family, but the decisions of others and circumstances out of her control always took her choices.
“I’m never the person to ask for help. I always made everything happen with just the little bit of money I had, and I made sure my children were well taken care of. I was also doing school while I wasn’t working. I was working on my degree to move up in the world and show my girls we could do stuff. We just had to try harder. I wanted to do better for myself and my children.
I had to be patient and wait, and then I found the program [Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area], and it’s been blessing me since. Just having people believe in you and have God by your side also, you can do anything you put your mind to. The Bridge of Hope program is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of, and I met some wonderful people and people that are so genuine and kind and just love me and my kids as if we were family.” Congratulations Latreese! We are so proud of you!
Before Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area, Amy received a job offer that was good for her family financially, but it was three hours away from home. She was living with friends, but there wasn’t room for her children, so her children lived three hours away. She would go several agonizing weeks without seeing them. “Emotionally, we all were hurting and longing for stability and consistent time together,” Amy shared.
Amy said she didn’t have all the answers to her children’s questions about where they would live. “I held back tears and prayed with them,” she said. The situation felt hopeless, and her boys were looking to her to fix it. “I told them what faith really meant and how even though we couldn’t see how it would work out, we had to believe that God would take care of us,” said Amy. “And that he makes the impossible possible. I told my boys that even though we couldn’t see why we were going through tough times, we were putting it all in God’s hands and believing in a miracle.”
Some of Amy’s goals were to grow in her career, finish her degree in business management, continue to grow in her relationship with her Neighboring Volunteers, and save to own her own home. She has made much progress toward those goals.
Today, Amy has secured a full-time job she loves; her children are thriving in school and are involved in summer activities. She developed strong bonds of friendship with her Neighboring Volunteers, and Amy looks forward to joining a Neighboring Volunteer group so she can be a neighbor to a new mom. Congratulations, Amy, and thank you for being willing to help other single homeless moms.
For eight long months, Janine lived in a hotel room with two double beds, three children, two of whom were teenage twin boys, and worked two jobs. She was trying to keep her family together and housed in any way she could. She didn’t want to call a hotel her home, and she could see the toll it was taking on her children, but returning to their former home meant walking back into domestic violence that wasn’t safe for any of them.
Janine was forced to leave a shelter with her three children and into a hotel because of the coronavirus. She was working a lot and parenting alone. But no matter how hard she worked or how much she sacrificed for her children, nothing she did seemed enough to change their circumstances.
Amazingly, had a friend who just happened to be a Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area graduate and wanted to offer Janine the same hope that changed her family a couple of years prior. She encouraged Janine to reach out to us.
Janine asked us to share this, ‘‘Bridge of Hope has helped me in many ways. They brought people into my life who gave me the strength to know and believe that I can do anything I set out to do. Getting to know these people helped me see that there are good people in the world, helped me believe in myself with their positive feedback, and, most importantly, helped me find ways to help my children make good friends and have positive outings. They gave them a support system within the church where they can learn to trust again.’’
Janine graduated form Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area in 2023. She began taking classes to finish her degree while she was with us. She’s proud to say that despite working two jobs, helping her children do school from a tiny hotel room, navigating a move to a new home (thanks to the help of her Neighboring Volunteers), and landing a promotion to help better support her family, she’s been able to maintain ‘‘As’’ and ‘‘Bs’’ in all her classes. Her sons have regained confidence and emotional health with the relationships they built through their church youth group. Well done Janine! Congratulations!
“This program has been life-changing for me and my family and it’s something that no one can ever take away. That’s what I love about it. This program, it’s not just about the immediate need, it’s life-changing and life-impacting. Without this program, honestly, I don’t know where I would be. I thank God every day for the people he brought into my life through the program. Being a graduate of this program, I’m so excited to give back to help moms, to help children, and to just know that we’re all broken, but there are people that are cheering for you and rooting for you. It takes a community to change things.” – Berlesha, Program Graduate
When Mary came to Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area she was alone and lacking positive relationships with her family. She was working hard but not earning enough money to support her son. Since she’s come to Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area, Mary has built a resilient family through her hard work, persistence, and with the support of her Neighboring Volunteers.
Mary once told us that home is a place where her family is united. Mary has a permanent home now, she’s got a good job with potential for growth and further education, and she’s pursuing a career in a field she loves. Mary’s son is getting a good education, has stability in his life, and is getting the support he needs to grow.
Mary told us that she believed her family’s greatest strength is the bond they have and that they are a happy family. Since she’s been with Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area, Mary’s bond with her son has been evident as she’s a loving mother and dedicated to seeing her family thrive. We are happy for Mary and count it a privilege to have been a part of her amazing story!
When Traci entered the Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area program she was homeless with two small children. She believed her family’s greatest strength was their unity and said they were a charismatic bunch! Traci’s extended family lived in another country and she had few friends, which left her with little support to call on when life got difficult.
Traci’s children were living with a friend and she was struggling to support her family for the long-term. Traci worked hard and had begun her own cleaning business, but she needed a driver’s license, transportation and relationships to lean on to make it all work. When she came to Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area, her goals were to grow her business large enough to be able to employ other single mothers like herself and own a company car and learn important financial management skills. Traci wanted to provide for her children a safe home with space of their own. She wanted to see them thriving in a secure school environment with lots of friends.
Traci has worked very hard since she’s been in this program and has built her business to where she has a waiting list of clients! Her children are stable and growing, her family has secure, long-term housing, she has reliable transportation and learned much about financial management! We are incredibly proud of Traci and all she has accomplished. She’s a strong and resilient woman who’s got great things ahead!
When Grace came to Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area her living situation changed drastically and suddenly. She and her daughter were stable when a sudden crisis occurred and they were forced to move from their stable home within 1 month. Grace had no money saved to move and was living paycheck to paycheck. What support she was receiving was taken away. She was struggling to keep her car and was working a lot of hours for very low wages.
Grace described “home” to be a safe, comfortable place full of love and positivity. She worked very hard while in the Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area program and graduated in August of 2018 with a stable job she loved that ministered both emotionally and physically to others. She established herself as a strong dedicated worker at her place of employment and was offered extra shifts because of her efforts.
Grace was married just before she graduated and was living in a stable home with a good job and strong Neighboring relationships. We are proud of Grace’s hard work and commend her on a job well done! Grace herself said this, “After the storm, there is a rainbow. Bridge of Hope is that rainbow. Thank you so much for everything!”
Before Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area, Alexis wanted to give her children a better home than she was able to provide for them. She told us that she had nothing and never had enough money to cover the needed costs of living. She “was at the end of the road” and either on the street or in a shelter. Alexis felt she couldn’t be the mother she wanted to be to her children.
After entering the Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area program, Alexis wanted to finish getting her Degree and achieve a sustainable more stable life for her children both emotionally and financially. She wanted a stronger connection with her children and to have them view her as more their mother and not just a friend. She strove to build stronger relationships with her family and friends as well.
Alexis believed that “love” was one word that best described her family’s greatest strength and “unique” best described her family’s personality.
Alexis graduated in December 2017 with a job that is helping her gain financial stability and offers the opportunity for advancement. She overcame many obstacles while in the program but is now stronger, more capable of providing for her children, and confident that she will succeed. We are proud of you, Alexis!
Before Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area, Latasha was completely dependent in every way on her family and others to sustain her and her children.
When first asked what home meant to her, Latasha answered, “Home is a place where I can paint, relax and my kids and I can build our own space.” When asked what inspires her, Latasha replied that her church family inspires her with their unconditional love. She describes her family’s greatest strength as “love” and “joyful” as one word that best describes her family’s personality.
Latasha graduated in November 2016. She maintains a stable job and successfully follows her budget. As a result, Latasha was able to purchase her OWN HOME! Wow, we are incredibly proud of how she has provided this warm and comfortable environment for her children. Latasha has worked hard to set herself up for success and we are thankful we were offered the opportunity to walk alongside her as she moved through this journey. Congratulations, Latasha!
Before Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area, Camilla had nothing. She needed a job to provide a safe place for her children to live. They lived in an area with the highest crime rate. They were near homelessness. Camilla relayed that she had poor money management skills and needed healing both spiritually and emotionally. She had no support network.
When first asked what home meant to her, Camilla replied, “Where my children and I are comfortable, warm and safe. It is welcoming!” Camilla relayed that the saying, “Tough times don’t last; tough people do” inspires her. She believes that the word “structure” best describes her family’s greatest strength and that “fun” best describes her family’s personality.
Camilla graduated in May 2016 with stable employment and a safe place to live. She and her children have a home that Camilla was able to provide, ensuring safety and comfort for all of them. Camilla graduated debt free and with job security. She took on certificate programs offered through her place of employment that will provide advancement in her career. We are so proud of Camilla’s hard work and success. Congratulations, Camilla! We are thankful for the opportunity to have walked with you through this journey.
Before she joined the Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area program, Alicia’s life was hard. If she had a job, she had to have a car and then couldn’t afford to pay her rent. When she did pay her rent, she couldn’t afford to have a car to drive to work. Alicia had to make the choice of being homeless or jobless. She also struggled with legal difficulties, relational struggles and never enough money to survive.
When first asked what inspired her Alicia said, “My Family Resource Coordinator for Bridge of Hope Harrisburg Area makes me feel better about life. She inspires me to feel like life is do-able like I am doing a good job. That’s what I feel like when she is around.” Alicia described her family as, “Survivalists and crazy.”
Alicia graduated in November 2016. She is successfully pursuing her degree in Early Childhood Education and holding down a full-time job which is providing for her family. Alicia is stable, able to provide stability for her children and a home where they are all comfortable being the crazy, fun bunch that best describes their family unit. Congratulations, Alicia! We are incredibly proud of your success!