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M Chases the American Dream

Updated: Mar 1

It’s raining. M and I sit on the back porch of Family Promise. It’s chilly out but M is in good spirits. Today is her graduation form the program. I start from the beginning and ask where M is from. “I am from a the country that called Gyana,” she says. M came to the United States on a tourist visa fleeing domestic violence. “I came to the US because this is a country where domestic violence, women’s rights, and help, where you can get a lot of help and be safe.”

When M’s visa expired, she didn’t have anywhere to turn. “I had nowhere to sleep. I had no form of income to provide meals for myself or my daughter. I only had a pair of clothes for me, my daughter on our backs, and a pair of shoes… I had to sleep in a backyard of someone for 14 days.” M had to reach out for help. As a life long Catholic, she reached out to the Catholic church. “When the church told me they were gonna call some places and they were gonna see, I was not that happy, but when they called me and tell me they got a place for me at Family Promise my day was very bright and that was my Christmas wish that I get a home, warm, clothing, food for my child and I was very happy.”

When M came to Family Promise she started noticing some things. “First I noticed I don’t have to worry about a warm bed, a room for my daughter, a bed for my daughter, a wardrobe, clothing. They feed me very good, a lot of food. I never went any day hungry. I never went any day without clothing and the employees of Family Promise were very welcoming. They’re very loving. They’re encouraging. Very motivated, you know? They talk to me, let me know that it’s gonna be alright. They guide me through the part of the things I need where I had to do what I had to do, even to get me medical help.” For people who are not citizens getting many forms of help can be difficult. Through the help of Family Promise and catholic Charities M was able to receive much needed medical care for herself and her daughter. Through Family Promise M’s daughter even enrolled in a boxing class and found she had a hidden talent. “Family Promise make it very easy for me because they have been motivating me every day. They have been calling here calling there, you know, see what they can do for me as a non-United States citizen.”

M worked hard and found a job but because of her visa status she faced obstacles, including dealing with unfair and abusive work practices. Luckily, after searching, she found a job that pays a fair wage and a landlord that will work with her situation. She said that though she’s sad to be leaving family Promise she’s learned some things. “What I've learned at Family Promise is that it teach you how to move on with your life. And to be on your own. For example, it teach you discipline: how to do your chores, how there’s a time for everything, you understand? And also it teaches you that when you go out into your own life that you will have the discipline in your work life. You will have that discipline and timing of everything you do in your life.”

When I asked if she had anything else to add, M said, ” I would like to say being homeless from a different country, I have looked it up and they said it was hard. It was only hard if you do not seek the help. I have seek the help and I have entered into a family that help me.”

Good luck M. We know you have the strength and tenacity to make your American dream happen.

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