“I Had To Find A New Life”
Maria literally walked up to the Houston Transitional Living Program one day and said she needed a place to live. Her mother was taking advantage of Maria, forcing her to abandon school, friends, and dreams in order to provide free childcare for her younger siblings. After a year and a half at Houston, Maria has graduated from high school, obtained her first part time job, and learned to drive. Today, Maria is working a new, full time job at a doctor’s office, planning and collecting for her own apartment, and saving for her first car which she hopes to purchase later this year.
“I Had Nowhere Else To Go”
John has lived in the Houston Transitional Living Program for a little over a year. His own home is not safe him, and for the last ten years he has lived in a group home. Living with his mother is still not a good option for him. Having aged out of the foster care system with nowhere else to go, he made his way to Houston Cottage. The Houston program has helped John learn about his strengths and aspirations. Now he sets goals, takes care of his health, and copes with his anger. A few months ago, John began working his first job after he was hired by a local hospital.
“Houston Gives Me So Many Opportunities”
Kira, a new resident in Houston, came here because her family was relocating and she knew she needed to learn to live on her own. In her first month, she has obtained her driver’s permit and gone to work at her first job. She enjoys volunteering at the Humane Society as part of the weekly productive hours the program requires of each resident.
“An Awesome Young Lady With No One…No One“
Kristin’s mom is in prison. Her dad’s whereabouts are unknown. Social Services sent Kristin to live with her grandmother in North Carolina. After her grandmother died, no one came forward to take care of fifteen-year-old Kristin. A temporary arrangement on a friend’s sofa lasted too long, and now Kristin has no home, no education, and no skills for a socially acceptable way of supporting herself. Kristin was described as “an awesome young lady with no one…no one.”
While there are many great organizations which help people, few can offer Kristin what she really needs for long term success: a stable home where she can live safely and finish her education while learning how to live a healthy, independent, productive, and happy life. And that is what Sipe’s offers disenfranchised young adults every day.
From Incarceration to Employee-of-the-Quarter
Chris came to Sipe’s from a Youth Development Center where he had been locked up for over two years. Upon his release, the YDC recommended that he enroll in a transitional living program and not return to his home. Chris became a resident in the Houston program at Sipe’s earlier this year.
Chris had never had goals. He’d never had encouragement or support. His peers were delinquents; his family was non-functioning. He didn’t know how to drive or cook or work. But once at Sipe’s, Chris decided what he wanted: a job, money, and his own apartment.
Today, Chris is well on his way to those goals, and along the way has grown into an impressive young man. He works hard. He’s pleasant, punctual, focused, and cooperative. He’s a positive influence in Houston, and he’s not a bad cook. He is enrolled in college; he makes regular deposits into a savings account. And he has a steady job where, in November, he was named Employee of the Quarter.
Chris’ life, like many, has turned around at Sipe’s, and, bit by bit, the world becomes a better place.
“I Was So Angry”
Abandoned by her parents to fend for herself at eighteen years old, Angie spent most of her time searching for food and shelter. Often she was in situations that were unsafe and unhealthy. Being without a permanent home didn’t necessarily mean not having a roof over her head – she “couch surfed,” staying with acquaintances or sometimes even strangers to get out of the cold or heat.
“On the streets, I had people who seemed like they cared about me…who took care of me. Because I was so angry, I acted out a lot and that caused my living situations to disrupt. Then I came to Sipe’s.”
Angie set high goals for herself from the day she entered Houston Cottage. So far she has graduated from high school, has maintained part time employment, and has bought a car. She can express her anger appropriately.
Angie will enter college this spring. She is nervous about transitioning from Sipe’s, but she feels better knowing that she will be supported and followed by the Houston staff after she leaves the program.