Growing up, my five siblings and I didn't have much. We were homeless for an extended period of time. Living in an apartment building with no basic necessities, no water, food, clean clothing, and shoes. The hard floor was our bed, but we slept in the seated position most of the time.
Helping the elderly carry their groceries upstairs was how we made a few dollars to buy whatever food we could afford to feed ourselves. I learned from my older sibling that OUR in-laws knew of our situation but did nothing to help. Maybe they were the ones who called CPS.
We were very fortunate that CPS (Child Protection Services) knew of our situation. We were placed in a children’s facility for kids who were neglected. This government program, Hillcrest, was nestled in the small town of Mt. Kisco, New York. This was our new home. Three square meals, new clothing, shoes and a positive environment, which removed the walls of disbelief.
After my first year of coaching at Voyager middle school, I was moved to provide sports camps for the girls & boys basketball team I had coached. I saw so much potential and life in these kids and knew I wanted to make a difference in their lives. I could see they weren't just lacking the proper footwear and access to sports camps, but they were also lacking after-school enrichment programs that would benefit them. They needed teaching, leadership & mentorship to help them move forward in life—that’s where I came into the picture.
Over the years, we have tried to partner with some of the well-known non-profits, to no avail, and we were turned down. Recently, we connected with Mary's Place, a temporary shelter for families in need of life’s basic essentials. We finally found our niche, where we can make the biggest impact.
*Mary's Place has shelters locations throughout King & Snohomish County.