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For every family who comes through Family Promise of Bergen County’s programs for homeless working families, success looks a bit different. What every family demonstrates is the willingness to work hard, set their eyes on their goals, and move forward with the tenacity to make it happen. Cathy R. had all of these qualities. What we learned over time, was that she was also fearless!

After a short stay in the Family Promise Network, CR moved into a New Leaf apartment in June of 2019.  A single mother of three children, CR had been cobbling together part-time jobs.  She worked exclusively with her Family Case Manager, Luz Galeano. The first part of CR’s plan was to improve her English. She enrolled in English as a Second Language classes at Bergen Community College. Every time we interacted, her English had noticeably improved. Family Promise helped her obtain reliable childcare and, through the generosity of one of our volunteers, CR received a donated car. As her English improved, she was able to use her talents as a manicurist and looked for new ways increase her income. CR attended Parisian Beauty Academy and received her certification in Cosmetology. She is set to take the State Licensing Board Examination. To expand her portfolio, she received additional training in eyelashes, nail art, acrylics, and hair extensions. Family Promise helped her obtain the training and purchase the tools she needs to practice her craft. In addition to her full-time job, CR has built up a considerable personal clientele.

While all this was going on, CR was raising 3 young children. Like any other single mom, she juggled work hours, cooking dinner, helping with homework, parent teacher meetings, and potty training. She enrolled in more ESL classes and participated in all of our empowerment and financial literacy workshops.

This month, CR is moving into an apartment of her own. She will be leaving the program stronger and smarter, with real skills, over $10,000 in savings and well prepared to embrace her future. We wish her all the best.

THIS is what success looks like for a previously homeless working family!

By Kate Duggan