From Grieving To Gaining

Number of Children… 7

Ended Homelessness… July 2015

The loss of a family member sparks a storm within a household, sending emotions and routines into upheaval. When her mother passed away, 22-year-old Kaarina found herself unable to grieve the major loss in her life. She immediately assumed the role of caregiver to her three younger siblings, ages 5 to 15, on top of caring for her husband Raul and their four children.

All nine family members struggled emotionally with the loss of their mother/grandmother. The couple's children, spanning ages from 8 months to 7 years, suffered anguish, lack of motivation, and academic strife. Kaarina's siblings reluctantly accepted her shifting role as their caregiver, a clash that forced the young mother to deal with misbehavior and defiance. Additionally, the financial effects of the family's loss quickly became apparent.  

The family split up, living in a motel and in a car for several weeks.

Raul's part-time construction work covered living expenses for the former family of six, but with three additional members to support, funds fell short. The family's finances forced them to split in two, living in a motel and in a car for several weeks. They knew they needed to reunite under one safe roof, and they reached out for assistance.

Project Hope Alliance stepped in to help provide a permanent roof over their heads, guide them through the grieving process, and boost the youths' schooling. Listening to the family's issues and concerns, Case Manager Rocio Calderón collaborated with Kaarina and Raul to develop a plan to lift the family out of homelessness and steer the children's and teens' educations back on track.

The loving family joined our Family Stability Program, and we were able to help house them and provide them with basic needs--groceries, hygiene items and school supplies generously provided by community members. Relieved to have a roof over their heads and their stomachs full, their stress levels began to drop, and conflicts began to reach resolution.

With all seven young learners enrolled in school and grief counseling, the weight started to lift. Two of the youngest children joined our new Bright Start Pilot Program, a dynamic education experience that combines academic and inspirational curriculum, modern technology, and caring mentorship. The group also participated in Comfort Zone and Art for Healing programs, which provided them with outlets to socialize and express their feelings through color and music.

Kaarina was further supported with effective parenting tips, notably advice on successfully parenting teenagers. 

But months of managing the family's crisis took their toll on Kaarina. This mother/sister/wife desperately needed a break to focus on herself. We helped give that to her. "Kaarina received a pampered day courtesy of a local hair salon," says Rocio. "She was very grateful and felt very special to be able to take a day off."

The appreciative family's living and academic situations are now stabilized, and Raul continues to seek additional hours to supplement the family's income—especially now that their welfare aid has been reduced. We will continue to walk beside them to lift them out of hardship.