*All names in the stories below have been changed for confidentiality reasons for our clients.
This month, we were able to help a young couple that had been living in their car for the past three months, when the weather became too hot they came to the office. We were able to place them in a motel for three days and also within that time found them a place to move into. This was accomplished due to the relationships being built with landlords. Both Samantha and Kameron now have jobs and will be able to become self-sufficient.
Power Up YOUth
Four of the six families attended the "Booster Session" on June 30th. Earlier this spring, these families took part in our seven week Strengthening Families Program. They asked to have a follow up meeting in the summer. This month they talked about stress management. Reportedly, several "aha" moments occured when everyone share when they felt high stress and what each did to reduce it during those times.
Gale moved to Iowa from a different state with her son Gordy. Gale stated that she wanted to have a clean start because her family was involved heavily into drugs and that is why Gale had lost Gordy to DHS. Gale went to rehab and became clean and she eventually was able to have custody of Gordy once again.
Gale stated that it has been her main focus to stay clean and sober because she wants her life and her son's life to be better. Gale has left her family in another state and has one friend that she can rely on and trust. Gale has stated to me that she really wants to get off FIP and become self-sufficient because she wants to break that cycle of "living on welfare."
Gale has strived to become self-sufficient by starting off part-time at a grocery store and whenever someone would call in or not show up for work they would call Gale and Gale would drop everything and come into work, just so she could make the extra money. Gale was wanting to save up for a vehicle.
Gale always made sure that Gordy would get on the bus to go to school every morning and then she would go to work and she would try and be home for Gordy when he got off the bus or she would have her best friend pick him up.
Gale was worried about having a sex offender live near them so she asked me what she could do about that and I printed off some questions and answers from the sex offender website. Gale struggled to get Gordy Christmas gifts, so he would be able to have a Christmas and I helped by taking her to Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. and she was able to pick out a few things for Gordy, so that he was able to have a Christmas.
Gale applied for another job and was hired shortly after she applied. Gale now works at a manufacturing company full-time and on the weekends she goes to work at the grocery store if they need help. Gale has Gordy in a licensed Daycare Center. Gale has purchased a vehicle and has it registered and licensed in her name.
Gale has worked very hard to become self-sufficient and I am very proud of how far she has come.
Recently a client's husband suffered a serious back injury on the farm. Through numerous emails with the wife at work and face to face interviews, we were able to resolve their mounting medical/insurance and household budgeting questions. We made sure that their basic needs were met and they could concentrate and ease their worries till the husband made a recovery and was able to return to work and normal family life once again.
A woman entered the Wright County Outreach office crying and soaked from the rain outside. Outreach Specialist Lori Fourage asked how she could help her. In conversation, Lori learned that the woman had just left a domestic violence situation and stated she didn't know where to go for help other than our office. Lori assisted her in making a phone call to a domestic violence crisis intervention service. While the woman waited at our office for a domestic violence specialist to arrive, Lori supplied her with some personal items and food for she stated she left the house with just the clothes on her back. The domestic violence specialist arrived at our office and was able to get this woman to a safe place.
Two months ago, a man from O'Brien County was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. His family is well known for helping others out in the community as much as possible. After the accident, he was told that he was unable to work for at least 3 months. They have been waiting for the insurance of the other person involved in the accident to kick in to help pay bills. Unfortunately, it has been a lengthy process, and they had to hire a lawyer. With bills piling up, they weren't sure where to turn. Their electricity was scheduled to get shut off and they had no food on the table. Someone referred them to UDMO. When they came in, you could tell that they felt embarassed to have to ask for help. We were able to help them with their bill and keep the electricity turned on, and send them home with a big food box. After their visit, our office received a letter thanking us for all that we did. They said that they were so grateful to us for two reasons. The first reason, obviously, was being that we were able to help out, but the second reason was the compassion shown to them. They said they didn't feel uncomfortable and were treated with respect, and they weren't expecting that.
A church referred a woman to our office that we had never met before. She had recently given birth to a premature child that needed special care so she couldn't go back to work yet. The baby's father hit her the day before and she had him removed from the home. That left her with no income for the next couple months. She has a mortgage to pay, utility bills, food to buy and no income so she was beside herself on how she was going to manage. She isn't currently behind on any of her bills but since she came to us with plenty of time to address this, we are working on the mortgage for next month by collaborating with the church; we gave her food and told her to bring us her montly household bills as they come in so we can provide assistance. We also told her about WIC, which she was unaware of, and helped her connect with them. She was frantic when she came to us but was reassured knowing we would be here for her as she transitions through this change.
Recently, we had an older man that we noticed was rummaging through all the dumpsters in our area. Maggie approached him and asked what his situation was. He told us that he was unemployed and couldn't find a job because he was too old and that no one would hire him. He would dig in the dumpsters for pop cans or anything recyclable to pay for the room that he rented and if he found any food he would also take that to survive on. Maggie invited him in to our office and told him about the many programs that we offer. She filled out the papers and gave him food and he is now coming every week. He still digs for pop cans but at least we know that he has edible food. He was so grateful for the food that he offered to sing for his supper. The staff have also informed him about many other programs that he would be eligible for.
Pocahontas County Upper Des Moines Opportunity and Staff:
Thank you very much for all your help and kindness. Because of your help, we have been able to overcome a big obstacle we were facing because of our unexpected unemployment. Thanks again!!