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  • Family Promise

Tara and her 13-year-old daughter, Tiara, found themselves in the very unfamiliar place of being homeless in early 2019. They had been living with her brother and his wife when financial troubles resulted in their eviction. Tara was referred to one agency, which then referred her to Family Promise of Wake County at the end of February.

“It was hard moving from church to church every week, but with the help of Family Promise and friends, I was ultimately able to find a job that I love,” she said. Tara previously worked at a temp agency while also working a second job. The working environment at one job site was very hostile, and, despite having a Commercial Driver’s License, Tara ended up outside with a shovel. That was not her vision for the future for her and Tiara! During her first week in Family Promise, Tara found her current job, which has provided opportunities for advancement and training. “They want you to succeed,” Tara said with a smile.

After 10 weeks in Family Promise’s Emergency Shelter program, Tara and Tiara moved into the Transitional Housing program and were chosen to be the first residents of a newly remodeled apartment.

“It makes me proud to see what I achieved in a few short weeks,” Tara said. Her daughter, Tiara, has also thrived with the added assistance of a local teen center.

Tara’s Case Manager and Family Promise of Wake County’s life skills classes have helped her succeed in her new life. She has learned how to save money and eat more nutritionally, among other things.

“They teach you to fish, not to be given a fish,” Tara explained. An active member of her church with her daughter, Tara is motivated by her faith to continue achieving her goals.

“I made a vow to God to use me. This is not my life to do what I want to do, but to fulfill my purpose. I never stop praying for everybody in this program.”

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  • Family Promise

Twenty-five and 1,500. Those are the two numbers I think about when I consider the work Family Promise of Wake County has done since we started ramping up for our big anniversary at the beginning of 2018. We hosted our inaugural fundraising event, Keeping the Promise, in April to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. During that time, we had the opportunity to engage with many of our amazing volunteers and supporters—those who have been with us since the beginning, and those who have joined as our organization has grown throughout the years. They shared stories of children and families who have touched their hearts; of rooms prepared, meals served, and life skills classes taught; and of conversations that lead to new understandings of the housing crisis in our communities.

Just as we were approaching the day of our anniversary celebration, the Board of Trustees received an email from Danielle, our Executive Director, notifying us that Family Promise of Wake County’s 1,500th family entered the Emergency Shelter program. It was a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, this was 1,500 families who experienced the support of our staff, the generosity of our volunteers, and the hope our programs give. On the other hand, this was 1,500 families who experienced the trauma of losing their home; more than 1,500 parents who told their children they had nowhere to stay that night; and more than 1,500 children who wondered when they would get to sleep in their own beds again. And I knew these 1,500 families accounted for only a portion of the people who experienced homelessness in Wake County since we started serving families in 1994.

But, in the end, hope wins. I am hopeful due to the long list of host churches and supporters who allow us to accomplish our mission. I am hopeful because we have a dedicated staff, including Danielle Butler and RaShawn Stanley, Amy Huenemann, Alissa Pritchett, Latisha Ward, and Carey Phelps. I am hopeful because our Board of Directors take their service seriously, thoughtfully make difficult decisions, and give generously of their time.

Finally I’m hopeful because this year, we once again have the opportunity to multiply our impact through a generous matching grant. If we raise $19,000 in new, increased, and lapsed donations between now and February 2020, the Stewards Fund will match it. I hope you take some time to

to read the stories contained within the pages of our 25th Anniversary Report, and gain a greater sense of the importance of Family Promise of Wake County’s work—and of your continued support.

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  • Family Promise

I want to take a moment to introduce you to Kat Lilley.

Kat is a Colorado native who has had close ties to Family Promise of Colorado Springs since 2013, when she and her children experienced homelessness. Six years later, she now serves as the executive director of the same affiliate that served her and her children, and she sits on the Guest Advisory Council with Family Promise National. Kat was empowered to overcome her homeless situation with the support and services of Family Promise and its amazing volunteers.

Upon successfully moving into her new home in 2014, she felt drawn to give back. After taking a few months to stabilize her six children in their new home, her family volunteered with the Colorado Springs affiliate to help provide meals and overnight hosting services to guest families, and in November 2014 she joined the affiliate’s Finance Committee. Since March 2015, Kat has been on staff with Family Promise of Colorado Springs. In June 2016, she joined the Guest Advisory Council with Family Promise National, where she found she truly loves advocating for families and children working through homelessness, and supporting an organization which is life changing for thousands of vulnerable families in our nation.

Having come full circle from experiencing homelessness to empowering those working through homelessness, Kat feels her journey through hardship now has purpose. She is passionate in lending her voice in support of vulnerable families working through a struggle she knows firsthand, remembering what it felt like to be desperate to find hope and navigate back to stable housing for her children.

Kat is an inspiring individual whose story truly illustrates the impact Family Promise has on the families we serve, both in Wake County and through affiliates across the nation. We are honored that she will join us as our keynote speaker during out 25th anniversary celebration and fundraiser on April 14. While Family Promise founder Karen Olson was slated to speak during the event, she recently experienced a health crisis. She is well on her way to recovery but is not yet able to travel.

We are thrilled Kat is available to join us in her stead.

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