When Elsa came to Friendly Center last Fall, she was overwhelmed: both her and her son were facing mental health challenges and the family’s basic needs were not being met due to only her husband finding work. This led to a variety of problems: from food insecurity to being unable to secure affordable housing. After tirelessly searching for resources to meet her family’s needs, Elsa arrived at Friendly Center. She was offered support in the form of emergency food, toiletries, and clothing as well as information on Case Management, Counseling, Job Development workshops, food distributions, utility assistance, and more. Elsa was relieved that so much of what her family needed, for the present and future, could be found in one place.
Upon enrolling in Case Management, Elsa was connected to resources allowing her to sign up herself and her son for counseling, locate multiple affordable housing options, and enroll in an upcoming Job Development workshop. The family progressed quickly, with Elsa becoming a food program volunteer after just a few weeks and eventually graduating from Friendly Center’s multi-week Job Development program. It was not long before she was able to secure a position with the local school district as a lunch supervisor and help move her family into their own apartment. To one day fulfill her goal of becoming an elementary school teacher’s aid, Elsa’s Family Support Advocate helped her enroll in Childhood Development courses at a nearby community college.
In March, when the severity of COVID-19 became clear, Friendly Center Family Support Advocates began checking in on families regularly to share resources and coping strategies. Due to schools being closed for the remainder of the year, Elsa’s job contract was cut short this school year. However, she shares that food programs and assistance through Friendly Center mean her family can direct her husband’s income to pay rent and bills. Overall, Elsa says that she feels prepared and grateful for the help Friendly Center continues to provide during these uncertain times.