Stories of Hope
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.
DaLanda Gorman, DC resident, and mother of six had an emotional moment when her family first moved into a homeless shelter. “When I became homeless, I asked myself – How did I end up here?” This was a question she never thought she would have to ask herself. “I was angry at the world, but more at myself, because I never thought I would have to put my kids in that situation. I never wanted that.”
“Being vulnerable, sharing your life story and experiences, and listening to your mentee's experiences leads to mutual growth,” said Nicola Davis, Community of Hope volunteer mentor.
When she was little, Nicola Davis always wished she had more adults that were understanding to talk to. So as she became an adult, she knew she wanted to get involved with young women and really help them navigate life’s challenges.
Nothing could prepare Shanna Dodson for that moment. Seated in a dental chair, Shanna popped the new dentures in. And instantly a smile broke out. It was a smile she had waited years to see again.
Joseph Morgan, a DC native, is still in disbelief that he finally has his own apartment after being homeless for over 10 years. “I didn’t think it was reality. I thought, something is going to happen and I won’t get the apartment. And then reality set in when they gave me the key.”
Marcellus Jones had two special reasons to celebrate his birthday this year– first, life and, second, a new apartment. It is a home he can finally call his own. His family and friends gathered for his 49th birthday and enjoyed a night full of dancing and eating.
Deep, intentional breathing. Guided stretches. Centered thoughts. Pregnant mommas at every stage of pregnancy enjoyed a prenatal yoga class hosted at Community of Hope’s Family Health and Birth Center by our partners from the Developing Families Center (DFC).
Teresa Smith, a DC resident, cried with gratitude as she shared the painful journey she endured before having her own apartment. “The moment I found out I was getting an apartment; I knew the test was over. Nobody could take my joy.”
January is National Mentoring Month and we want to congratulate Mentor Kristal Lightning! We are thrilled to share that not only is Kristal Community of Hope's 2018 Mentor of the Year but she was also chosen as one of the three United Way of the National Capital Area and Deloitte's Mentoring Matters Coalition Mentors of the Year! She was chosen out of a pool of over 25 organizations who host mentoring programs throughout the DC-metro area.
“When others don’t advocate for you, you advocate for yourself.”
That is the motivation for client Jennifer McLaughlin. Jennifer, 41, originally grew up in Baltimore city and shares that she never had an example of what stable housing looked like because her parents became homeless when she was just three years old, forcing the family to put her in the foster care system. After being in the system for a couple of years she was then reconnected with her family again. Unfortunately, their time together was short-lived, and Jennifer moved out when she was just 15 years old.