Stories of Hope
Martir Salmeron is a Marie Reed lifelong friend. When his mother was pregnant with him, she sought out the clinic which is now home to our Marie Reed Medical Center for her OB/GYN care. It was not a Community of Hope site at the time; it was a city-run center with a similar mission to offer affordable health services to the neighborhood. She was living nearby in Columbia Heights and had recently immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador. After Martir was born, he’d go there for check-ups. Fast forward about 30 years, and Martir is back as a volunteer.
Until recently, Edith Higgins let her diabetes get the better of her. She was not taking her medication consistently. She made a habit of eating chocolate cake and other foods that diabetes patients are encouraged to avoid. The mismanaged disease left her tired all the time, and it exacerbated her other conditions. At one point, what should have been a one-day hospital visit became five days because of diabetes-related complications.
When Community of Hope began making plans to open a health center in Ward 8, we asked people in this community what services they need. One of the most common responses? People need help finding jobs. We listened, and began developing our first-ever workforce development curriculum to offer at our new building. Two years later, our Customer Service Skills Certificate Program is going strong, and is open to both our clients and the broader community.
For Carlton Richmond, being a mentor comes naturally. This native Washingtonian has volunteered with Community of Hope’s mentor program for the past two years, working with JT, a junior at Anacostia High School. “It’s my way of giving back to my community,” Carlton says. “It’s about him, it’s not about me."
Stepping out from some difficult circumstances, Kiara never let homelessness stop her from achieving her goals.
Four years ago, Kiara was living in a one-bedroom apartment with 16 people, at times with no electricity or running water. Her family eventually moved into a shelter, and they later joined the Community of Hope's permament supportive housing program in 2013.
Six years ago, Aja was a patient at our Marie Reed Health Center. Pregnant with her second child, she really wanted a natural birth.
After extensive research on the benefits of natural child birth, Aja was pleased to discover that Washington DC’s only free-standing birth center, Community of Hope’s Family Health and Birth Center, also provided such welcoming, comfortable, and holistic care and she immediately felt like a part of the FHBC family.
For most families in our programs, home ownership is either a hope dashed by the mortgage crisis or a far-fetched dream limited by high housing prices and low wage jobs. For one mom we serve – Ophelia – that dream is days away from becoming a reality.
Meet Jeanine – a new employee, an over-comer of being homeless, a mom who is a shining example to her daughter. Jeanine became homeless in November 2012 when she was laid off from work. Luckily, she and her daughter were able to move in with her sister and family. This housing solution only lasted for about three months before tensions flared and they were displaced once again.
Ashley Gamble knew from the moment she drove past her neighborhood health center, the Family Health and Birth Center (FHBC), six years ago that she would deliver her next child there. After two hospital childbirths, she preferred her next birthing experience to be in a more personal and holistic environment, under the care of midwives.
“I want to do a water birth at FHBC. Having autonomy over my birthing experience is really important to me this time around,” said Ashley.
Temeka Royster was ecstatic to finally receive the keys to her second home since coming to Community of Hope’s Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Program in 2011. After eighteen months of renting rooms and sleeping on couches and floors with her son, Damonte, Ms. Royster had enough when she witnessed a drug-addicted roommate abuse his girlfriend. Fearing their safety , she fled with her son to a neighbor’s home. “This is too much! He’s beating her, I don’t want my son seeing this. I just can’t do it.”