Stories of Hope
The day Star Douglas and her son moved into their new apartment was full of gratitude. “I felt a massive amount of relief when we moved into our place. A whole world of pain was released off of my shoulders.” The pain for Star started when she was just a child. Her mother abandoned her and then her father sold her to a stranger so he could pursue a career in music. For the next few years, Star was subjected to neglect, mistreatment, and abuse. When her father returned and took her to live with her grandmother, she thought things would finally get better.
Give the gift of a bright holiday to children and families experiencing homelessness by donating to our Adopt-A-Family program. With your gift of a Target or Walmart gift card (in increments of $25), parents have the opportunity to choose how they will best make this season brighter for their families by purchasing a meal and/or gifts.
Anthony and Mari Baylor and their two sons, Khaiyel, 6, and Kyando, 12, entered Community of Hope’s transitional housing program in 2018, after having endured many obstacles as a family. Before Community of Hope, the Baylors faced housing instability challenges that forced them to live with family, in condemned apartments and even motels.
“Community of Hope has put me in the position where I can start giving back, now as a teenager still in my community,” said Shae’Lynn Ames, Community of Hope intern.
In 2016, Ana Beltran connected with Community of Hope’s Conway Health and Resource Center thanks to a back to school flyer. Ana, 59, is a native Washingtonian and product of what she describes as “pre-Columbia Heights” – an era after the historic 1968 DC Riots and during the revitalization of 14th street. So when Ana and her niece arrived at the Bellevue Back to School Bash, she was surprised to learn that a place like Community of Hope existed. “I had never seen the Community of Hope building before.
Carey Carter, 63, couldn’t have been more excited about the newest treatment her doctor suggested – eating fruits and vegetables to help control her chronic health conditions. Carey started receiving medical services at Community of Hope in 2017 and participates in the My Health GPS program where she receives specialized care coordination.
“We were living in the worst projects. Someone was killed in front of our door, people were dealing drugs in the hallway, there were gangs, and our home kept getting broken into. We couldn’t live there.” The family entered a housing program which was unexpectedly closed. “I was devastated it closed. During that time I didn’t know how to deal with stress. I was going through a lot. All I kept thinking was, this can’t be life.”
Shacora Simmons voice ignites change for the safety of children in her Ward 8 neighborhood. Shacora, a mother of four, was born and raised in North Carolina and became a Washingtonian in 2005. “D.C. has grown on me now and I can’t see myself anywhere else.” Shacora’s connection with Community of Hope started in 2012 after she delivered her second child at the Family Health and Birth Center (FHBC). “Giving birth at FHBC was wonderful. I gave birth to my oldest at a different birthing center in Georgia, but this was one of the best [birthing] experiences that I had.”
Franklin Turner received the best holiday gift last year – a new home. Franklin, a DC native and loving father of two, was greeted with a Welcome Home note when he moved into his new one-bedroom apartment at Archer Park. It was a day that he didn’t initially think would happen but was thankful to finally experience. “I was grateful when I moved into my apartment. God knew everything I had been through. I couldn’t believe it.”
Helen Hardy remembers the excitement in her community on the day the ‘watermelon man’ would travel through Washington, DC neighborhoods to deliver fresh fruit, meats, and sometimes bottled milk. Reminiscing on the 1950s brought back so many pleasant childhood memories of living in the District with her parents and four sisters. Helen married young, moved to Anacostia in the 60s with her husband, and together they had five children.