One-on-One 2017 was amazing! Thank you to everyone who sponsored, donated, volunteered, and helped make the event a huge success! Through your generosity we met our goal! We are excited to announce that we will be opening on Mondays beginning January 15th. Being open Monday-Friday each week is a dream we have had since we opened three years ago. Our members are grateful and we appreciate you helping to make our dreams come true.
Our “Unlikely Friends” evening last Friday night was powerful. One of the PARC members wrote me a letter and I believe her words describe the night perfectly. “I was surrounded by a great community that just showered me with greetings of love, kindness and support. It felt like such a wonderful happening of people who love each other and love me. It was like a family reunion.” That is exactly how I felt!!
It was such a beautiful evening of people in our community coming from various and diverse backgrounds to be together, have conversation and make new friends. I love the way it communicated the heartbeat of the PARC and I was overwhelmed when I stood at the front of the theater and saw the members of the PARC propped up in their recliners with their popcorn and drinks.
The story of Ron and Denver depicts so powerfully how relationship changes us and how that change then spreads throughout our community and further. That is what we are doing at the PARC. Relationships are formed, lives are changed and the cycle of homelessness is broken. As those that are often unseen find their value and remember who they are, they see the possibilities before them and begin to take the steps to move to their ‘next’.
I would like to invite you to join with us in changing the lives of those experiencing homelessness in Amarillo. For each member, it costs the PARC $25 a day, $125 a week and $500 a month to offer them life’s possibilities. Please consider partnering with us by giving to the PARC on a monthly basis and help provide for a member’s day, week or even month.
Thank you to everyone who came, to everyone who gave, to everyone who volunteered, and especially to Central Church of Christ, First United Methodist Canyon, St. Stephen United Methodist Church, More Church, and John and Karen Walker for sponsoring the night. With your help, we are rebuilding lives and helping the homeless become aware of life's possibilities!
Jack Dison is a familiar face around the PARC. He comes weekly to lead a discussion group, and we are always blessed by his presence. I wanted to give you the opportunity to hear his perspective and the effect volunteering at the PARC has had on his life. There are many ways to volunteer at the PARC, and if you are interested I would love to tell you more.
It seems to me that at the heart of Jesus’ teachings (and other similar traditions) we are called to love one another and to place the needs of others above our own. That’s a challenging assignment. How can we do that, especially for those who have been pushed aside and rejected?
One of the few places that I have found those principles to be embodied, day-after-day, is in the organization known as the PARC. It offers a place where people facing enormous challenges can be and are accepted, encouraged, and supported.
As a volunteer I get to participate in what the PARC offers. That happens in at least two ways. First, I get to witness the love that is available and exchanged in various ways for and among members who find their way to the PARC.
That reminds me of the place in the Bible where Jesus explains that the two major commandments are (1) love God and (2) love your neighbor. Someone then asked him “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus then told the story that we call the Good Samaritan. The story calls us to be merciful to those who are poor, rejected, and in need. It calls us to get out of our comfort zones and to cross boundaries that normally would keep us apart. The Jews and Samaritans were separated by distrust and hate. But it was the Good Samaritan who showed mercy and love to the Jew who was in trouble and great need. Obviously it was the Good Samaritan who was the neighbor, rather than the others who passed by and ignored the one who needed help.
In the PARC, members are given constructive ways to spend their days, rather than merely sitting and standing around doing little or nothing. Those responsible for setting the PARC up and administering it, noticed ways that they could be Good Samaritans right here and right now in Amarillo, Texas. Doing that work is not easy, and in some cases it is quite difficult.
Second, as a volunteer I have the privilege to facilitate a “class” or group to give the PARC members an opportunity to share conversation which helps them take a deeper look at themselves than most have ever done. I do this using what is called the “circle method.” The technique is fairly simple. We sit in a circle, we use a talking piece which we pass around the circle, and we share parts of our story, which direct us to look at where we have been in our lives, where we are now, and where we hope to be going in the future.
Most members are drawn to and participate in what we do in the group. We work together as a group to make it a safe place to share. An important thing we do for each other in the group is to listen deeply to each other. That is a gift of love we can exchange in our group process. It is important to be listened to.
Being facilitator does not make me the expert in the group. While I help keep the group on track, I am one among all the others in the group. I am convinced that the wisdom which emerges in such groups comes from every member of the group as we share our experience, our stories, and ourselves with each other.
It is a huge honor for me to be a witness to the fine work of the PARC and to be a facilitator in the groups that meet each Tuesday morning. It adds to my life every time I am there.
I would not call myself a Good Samaritan, but the PARC gives me a chance to hang out with some people who are.
These are my friends; my 'unlikely' friends. Carole has a master's degree in nursing and was a nurse for 41 years. Max is my hero. When he broke his leg he lost his house, but he continues to press through every hurdle to get well and get his life back. Cheryl is moving into her new house this week. Jeff had to leave to go interview for a job. Marvin is a kind and gentle man that manages to find work almost every day at day labor. Wendy found herself homeless when fleeing an abusive relationship. I wish you could meet Allison, Rani, James, Julie, Angela, Dalton, Tim, Billy, Rick, Kerry and so many more. My life is better. I am enriched and thankful for this place where I have the privilege to know those I would not have known.
Ravi came to me last week and asked me to share his testimony of how his life has taken a dramatic turn in this past year. We, at the PARC, have had the privilege of walking with Ravi and watching him make hard decisions day after day. We have had the honor of seeing him take the steps to move to his 'next' and then his 'next'. He continues to move forward. These are his words.
"I have completely changed to become a better human being, filled with compassion and love to every person, place and things surrounding me. I was pushed to a corner with nowhere to turn, not knowing what was in store or which direction to go. I was surrounded by negative energies, hopelessness, bitterness, and anger. I CHOSE to lead a different lifestyle altogether, relying on honesty and truthfulness to shape my future. Slowly and cautiously I took steps with the help of support groups, organizations and opportunities to lay a strong foundation for a life full of abundant love and compassion. What I have accomplished is pure and crystal happiness.
"As a member of the PARC I utilized the tools provided to me to enhance my spiritual knowledge towards the purposes for my life. My unconditional commitment to every activity at the PARC has made me a better individual which is evident both in my qualitative and quantitative product of the principles and promises of the PARC".
At the PARC they are given back their name.
At the PARC they realize they are capable.
At the PARC the cycle of homelessness is broken and a sense of purpose is established.
As I reflect on the story of the PARC, there are so many victories and disappointments. I want to share one story that has touched my heart the most.
If you have met Allison, you love her. Her authenticity and love for the Lord endears all those who know her. She loves God, scripture and people and is one of the mightiest prayer warriors I know. Allison has an addiction to meth and has engaged in a lifestyle not many of us would endorse for over 20 years. Through her time in coming to the PARC we have continued to love her, show her value and remind her that we love her not for what she does, but for who she is. She is always welcome back and she will never run out of chances. Allison saw no way out, but over time she began to become aware that there were possibilities for her. She overcame many obstacles to FINALLY get her I.D. and social security card. I wish you could have been here to experience what Robert and I saw when Allison finally received her I.D. in the mail. She waited until she got to the PARC to open it. She prayed, kissed the envelope and then opened it up. When she saw it she threw her hands up, praised Jesus and hugged us both! She said the owed this all to the PARC.
Then, Allison applied for a job. We walked with her as she followed up on her application and then rejoiced with her when she got the job. There was such a celebration that day. This is a true miracle indeed. She is so proud and determined. Allison took a HUGE next step. When I asked her how long it had been since she had worked, she asked, “You mean a public job? It’s been 20 years.” Allison began her job and would come in each morning with a huge smile on her face to tell us about how her work was going and how much she loved her job.
When the PARC opened on Tuesday we heard that Allison had been kicked out of Salvation Army and lost her job. I hoped she would come back to the PARC so we could try to help her to keep moving forward. She arrived at the PARC around 1:00 that day in her pajamas. She had no other clothes. I was so happy to see her and began to hear her story. Allison uses a lot of words, but what jumped out at me was that Allison had been told by someone at Salvation Army that she had lost her job and she just believed them. I asked her how many days of work she had missed. She told me that she had only missed one, so I encouraged her to call her boss, apologize and ask if she could keep her job. As her eyes lit up she said, "I can do that?" We watched her make that phone call, saw tears come to her eyes and heard her say, "Thank you, Sir. Thank you. I will be there and I will work hard." She hugged me and cried out of thankfulness and gratitude, and then she called her daddy in South Carolina. I had the privilege of talking to her sweet daddy and hearing him thank me for helping his daughter. I had some leggings in the cabinet that I gave her to wear to work.
My friends, this is the story of the PARC. Our privilege has been to know Allison, a person we would have never known if it weren't for the PARC. Our privilege has been to walk with her and continue to love her even though her lifestyle is not one we endorse. Our honor has been to watch her walk in to a place she never thought possible because she found love, acceptance and value at the PARC. Allison came in hopeless, but she left with hope. This is the PARC. This is what we do. Isn't it wonderful? Aren't we lucky to get to be a part of the greatness and vastness of God's love, hope and destiny for those that are so often lost and forgotten? Love truly does conquer all!!
Christy loves the PARC and she loves to tell other people how it has helped her. She arrived in Amarillo on January 1 with plans to stay with a friend, but she ended up at Salvation Army. These are her words:
"I heard about the PARC from some of the people at Salvation Army. When I walked through the door the first time I was met with a kind heart and open arms, and it threw me for a loop. I didn’t think it would be like this at all. They showed me all the things I could do and learn. All they ask is that we try to be productive. They have good coffee, and everything in the PARC is free, which is overwhelming to me, too. There are classes on anything you can imagine.
"When I got here, I was surprised that the people that were here at the PARC were homeless. I think when you walk in here you become 'not a normal homeless person'. People will ask, 'What is a normal homeless person?' I will say that a normal homeless person is lost and not sure what direction to go. They become bitter and uncaring. People that are homeless are often become greedy and some want to stay homeless. But, the percentage that wants to move forward needs to come to the PARC. I wish I could tell people to follow me and let me show you something good.
"The PARC has opened my eyes to something I have never seen before. No one has ever reached out to me like this before. I’ve been in counseling and rehab, but it wasn’t the same. I've gotten more from here in the past month than I have in the past 5 years. I’ve gained confidence, courage, self-esteem, and I have someone that cares for me. I am a recovering addict and without the PARC I would have relapsed. The PARC has given me a place to go and not think about drugs. The PARC showed me goals I didn’t even know I had, and how to get them. I am about to move into an apartment in a few days, and I am saving for a vehicle. The PARC is teaching me that it is okay to talk to God anyway I want, that He loves me for who I am and that He forgives me. I never knew that. It makes me want to cry. I’ve learned to read the Bible and now I know that He can take me down any path and it’s going to be alright. He isn’t ever going to lie to me. He makes my heart feel really good. I’ve learned so much here at the PARC. If my Momma was still here she would be knocking on the door to tell you thank you.
"I have to thank Valerie and Robert for it all and the volunteers. When I tell people about the PARC, I tell them that Valerie is very protective and wants to show us how to be better people. She will talk to you and listen. Valerie and Robert are opposites. He teases me and makes me laugh. They are two kind people wanting to do some good for people that didn’t know there was any good out there."
What does homeless look like? It looks like Christy that just needed a place to find her value and know herself through the eyes of acceptance and love. It changes everything. Just ask Christy.
It is often hard to explain what we do at the PARC because it isn't tangible. What happens at the PARC happens within. It happens in their spirits. It happens in their souls. The things that happen at the PARC are sustaining. When those that come to the PARC leave, they carry deep within themselves the things that they have been given.
Anna came to the PARC 5 months ago. For the the first few weeks she just sat at a table and worked on her projects. She didn't talk much and had a lot of walls. Anna felt hurt by her family and life. She felt abandoned and alone. The longer she was here the more confident she became and the walls began to fall down. Her gifts became evident and her heart began to open. Anna is resourceful and a true servant. If anyone needed help she was quick to step in and do what was needed. She is extremely gifted in organizational skills and administration. Anna is smart! Somewhere in the journey of her life she had been told she had a learning disability and she carried that label. As she spent time at the PARC that label began to fall off and her heart began to heal. She began to believe in herself.
Last week as I walked past Anna's table she was sitting with a friend and crying. As I sat with her she told me that she had a choice to make. Her father had texted her and offered her the chance to come home and help her get back on her feet. She was scared. He lives in a city she has never lived and it would mean putting herself in a situation that had been painful in the past. I began to remind her of all the things she had discovered about herself and the ways she has changed. A volunteer joined me to encourage her and to remind her of how very capable she is. Anna found the confidence and courage to say yes. She found the confidence and courage to go back to her family and start a new life.
Anna has stayed in touch since she left. I received a message from her and she told me, "I'm pretty sure that moving to Dallas was the best and hardest choice I made. I have an interview on Monday. Things are going the way I wanted. Thank you, Valerie for pushing me and letting me see the bright side of it all."
Anna has hit the ground running since she arrived in Dallas. Matt Morgan is one of our volunteers that comes once a month to teach the members about how to get a job and the journey that is necessary in order to get their 'dream job'. He gives out his contact information and offers to help them if they need help. Anna told me, "I've been emailing Matt and he's been a big help with my resume and he will continue to help me. He answers back quickly." Anna isn't giving up. She has had 6 interviews since arriving in Dallas. She has 2 interviews today and one on Saturday. She was nervous about a test she had to take for one of her interviews, but she passed it!!
We ARE SO VERY PROUD OF HER. Life is hard, and when people experience homelessness, they quickly lose themselves and their sense of worth. The PARC is a place where they are encouraged and loved. There is an atmosphere where everyone can feel valued and respected. At the PARC, they realize they are capable, and a sense of purpose is established. The Sky is the Limit for Anna. There is no stopping her now!
The One-on-One Art Show was a night to remember. This one-of-a-kind event was fun, unique and filled with laughter. Thank you to those who came, all who gave, and to our generous sponsors that made the evening such a tremendous success. Due to your kind and giving hearts, we were able to raise money to help those experiencing homelessness find their value and establish a sense of purpose. Those in Amarillo will be given back their name, realize they are capable, and break the cycle of homelessness.
As Executive Director for the PARC, I could not be more thrilled to share this amazing, God-given opportunity. Our Second Annual Art Show Fundraiser, One-on-One will take place on Saturday, November 12, 2016 downtown at the Derrick Event Center. This one-of-a-kind event will focus on the “art” of collaboration, conversation, and connection with others.
If you would like to Sponsor this event or donate, please go to the events page.
We have partnered with Cerulean Gallery and the Derrick Event Center to make it an unforgettable night. An original work of art from Denver Moore has been graciously donated by Cerulean Gallery and will be available during our Live Auction. Denver is co-author of the New York Times Best Seller, Same Kind of Different As Me. His enthralling story and raw art represents the power of inspiration and connection, which we at the PARC find vital in serving and supporting those who are experiencing homelessness in our own community. It is through connection, collaboration, and creativity that our volunteers and members help raise each other up and support growth and confidence in the hardest of situations.
When we make the conscious decision to collaborate One-on-One, we have the opportunity
to make an impact on the lives of so many individuals, including ourselves.
the PARC is all about acceptance. Our purpose is to provide a place for those experiencing homelessness to come as they are and not be judged. We meet them where they are and encourage them to take steps towards their possibilities. What we have found, however, is that it is a place for ALL to come and find acceptance. Everyone fits in at the PARC, no matter who you are, your background or economic status. Our volunteers come from every generation and walk of life, and each one will tell you that they love it here! It truly is a place where anyone and everyone can come as they are, find connection.
I want you to meet a few of our volunteers:
- Amelia is a college student who comes between her classes at A.C.
- Nan is retired school teacher and coach
- Samme is a stay-at-home mom
- Cori is a President of a local company and a Life Skills Coach
- Scott and Nikki are financial consultants
- Shari is a stay-at-home wife and mom
- Guylene is a retired school secretary
- Angela ministers to those who are in prison and the homeless by teaching classes on self-worth
- Nola is a tutor at Amarillo College
- Bailey is a college student that comes in between her classes
- Barbara is a stay-at-home wife and mom
- Deanna is a licensed counselor
- Mark is an outreach pastor at a one of the downtown churches
- Hayden is a high school student
- Alex is a college student, works part-time, and still finds time to come to the PARC
- Diane and Kathy are teachers that come at the end of their day to lead Bingo
- Michael works in landscaping
- Penny is a hairstylist
- Kaylynda works at a local print shop
- Steve works at Pantex
- Jimmy just retired from Pantex
These are only a few of the many volunteers that come and find their place at the PARC and there is a place for YOU! If you want to get involved, please call 806.367.8024, or just come by anytime we're here. Everyone is always welcome.
The impact we have at the PARC is not always easily seen, but as we continue our mission to show acceptance and value to the members that come we find that lives are changed and people find the confidence to move forward even when we are unaware. Billy had been coming to the PARC for just a few weeks. He was very quiet, but always found a project and attended the classes. We noticed that he had a very kind heart and always looked out for those with disabilities or had trouble 'navigating' the streets. He brought a lot of people with him when he came, but he was always very quiet. Some of our volunteers found it difficult to have conversation with him, but one of our volunteers persisted and found that once she got him talking she couldn't get him to stop. It was enough!
He came in the next day to tell us that he was going to start a recovery program and wouldn't be at the PARC for about a month. Through the 'conversation' he acknowledged he had a problem and needed to gain victory over that in order to move on so that he could get off the streets and live independently. After the first day of his recovery program we received a note from him that he sent through a friend. We had no idea of the impact we had on him.
Billy found himself at the PARC. He found acceptance and friendship. He found hope and direction. He found accountability. This is only the beginning of the story. At the PARC we strive to change our community one life at a time. Billy is only one of the people that is being changed; that is finding the confidence to do what is needed to get out of homelessness.
Come by to see what we do at the PARC. Meet some of the members and the volunteers that are a part of our team. Join us through your time or donations. We would love to have you!!
We are all on a journey. Each of us has his own path full of turns, pitfalls and victories. There are mountains to climb, rivers to forge and valleys through which we must walk. For those that are homeless it often seems that the mountains are higher and the valleys are deeper. There are so many obstacles that they must face just in their daily life. Lack of transportation, instability of environment and even worrying about having a place to sleep every night often becomes overwhelming. the PARC provides a place to step out of the storm, find some peace and stability and to remember that deep within them lies the means to continue their journey. They have goals and dreams, but when the river seems too wide to cross it is easy to throw up their hands and forget that the possibilities are real. At the PARC we remind them of who they are and help them to realize the potential that lies within.
Enrique is on his journey. He arrived in Amarillo from Colorado and after many disappointments and turns he found himself at the Salvation Army. When he first came to the PARC he knew that he didn't want to stay where he was and he was determined that he did not want to stay homeless. He found encouragement and heard of possible job leads each day when he came to the PARC. He would report to us how his interview went or what applications he had filled out. Enrique walked a lot of miles in his determination to find work.
One afternoon as we were closing Enrique popped in with a huge smile on his face. He was bursting with excitement when he told us that he had just gotten a job and he wanted to thank us for helping him! He was going to be a cook at Youngblood's Restaurant. Tim and Vicki Youngblood have big hearts and believe in second chances. Many have found their way out of homelessness because of their kindness and generosity. Enrique has been diligent to show up on time and work hard when he is there. He makes great eggs and his pancakes are the best around!
His journey continues."The PARC encourages me to seek a better life and helps me to believe in myself." He still came to the PARC on his days off and as we talked through his struggles we felt like a transition from Salvation Army to Another Chance House would be a move in the right direction. It would give him the structure and accountability he needed to help him accomplish his goals. He continued to look for more work with higher pay and more hours.
His journey continues. Today Enrique starts orientation for a full time job with full benefits. He also has found a place to live and will be moving next week. It has been our honor and our joy to walk with Enrique through this part of his journey. We are proud of his determination and look forward to seeing where the next part of his journey takes him.
Success is as diversified as the people who walk through our doors. It is defined in many different ways and on many different levels. Every person that walks into the PARC is treated as an individual and accepted in the place where they find themselves. Our passion is that each one find his value and be reminded that this may be where they are right now, but this is not where they have to stay. There are very real possibilities for them and we help them to find the confidence to move forward and take the necessary steps to break the cycle in which they have found themselves. The most simple concept is our most powerful. We see success happen quickly and on a daily basis because of relationship and providing opportunities for them to succeed. These relationships and opportunities happen directly through the volunteers. Some of them come weekly, and some come once a month. Some of them come and stay all day, and some stay for only an hour. But each one that comes becomes the reason our members find success.
Our members will tell you that the volunteers are the nicest and best people in the world. "They are all so open, helpful and generous with their feelings, which we find are similar to our own. The volunteers are personable and don't look down on us. We feel loved." "I feel driven because they celebrate my victories with me. I don't feel that any subject is off limits so I can share anything with them," "There is always open communication between the volunteers and the members and they treat us as friends. They don't look down on us, they are accepting and interested in us. The ones who come share their knowledge with us and encourage us to do more than we thought could." In a population where you are often overlooked and seldom acknowledged, these relationships are life changing.
The stories you hear from the volunteers will be much the same. "I love it here. I feel accepted and it brings me joy. I like the friendships I have made and I can't wait to get back to catch up with them. Coming to the PARC fills my heart. It is MY time and I know this is where I belong. I love the smiles and the support, and I am motivated by their positive attitudes in the midst of their circumstances. I can see God working every time I come. I see Him working in the triumphs and the falls. Their genuineness and openness inspires me."
We often say that the PARC is a no-judgement zone. When you come here you will find love, acceptance, respect, and value. Yes, we strive to be sure our members experience those things, but what we find is that our volunteers find it as well. I can tell you from a personal point of view that working at the PARC is the first time in my life that I feel that I can be totally myself and it is the right thing to do. YOU can find your place at the PARC. I encourage you to come by and see what we do. I think it will surprise you. Or, give us a call and set up a time to visit and take a tour. Our hours are Tuesday - Friday, 8:00 - 4:30. By just being yourself you can make an impact and change the direction of someone's life. This is an opportunity you do not want to miss!!!
Just a week ago we celebrated 365 days of success. The PARC has been open for a year now, and its success is the lives transformed in the Amarillo homeless community. We thank everyone who made our open house a hit: planners, attendees, caterers, performers, cleanup crew, and every other person involved. We are blessed beyond measure to have a building where we can celebrate and minister.
There are so many stories of success that happened inside our doors. Our members have proven to us what they're made of and what they know they're worth by getting education, jobs, cars, and, of course, HOMES! We are so proud of the homeless in Amarillo who have transformed their lives. We wanted nothing else.
Our mission here at the PARC has benefitted more than just our members, too. Our volunteers are constantly telling us they feel they are benefitting just as much as the members. Our volunteers bring such creativity and care to the PARC each day. From music lessons to self-help classes, cooking courses, art shows, and more—we couldn't have picked a better team of people if we tried. Even more important, our volunteers give love. They show love and speak love and pour out love to our members. Just a genuine conversation between a volunteer and a member is the catalyst that begins to break the cycle of homelessness.
The people that come through our doors each day represent two things: power and purpose. Our volunteers who serve so selflessly week after week give us our power. Without them, we couldn't reach the homeless in the same way. Every volunteer that gives—be it their time, talents, money—brings one more stroke of power through our doors. The other half of our visitors who give us purpose are our members. Without our members, we wouldn't even be here. They are the ones God boldly called us to help. And through His power (our volunteers), God has been boldly transforming the members of the PARC for over a year now.
Thank you. Thank you to everyone who has shown up. To give, to receive. We couldn't have done it without you.
One year ago the PARC opened its doors for the first time. We had a dream and a firm belief that people's heart, minds and lives could be changed with a simple concept. We believed that if we could meet those that are homeless right where they are and help them to truly be known that they would find their value and remember who they are. We believed if they could be given opportunities for success that their confidence would return and that they would find the courage to break the cycle of homelessness in which they have found themselves. In this past year so much success has been achieved on so many levels.
As I think back it is the faces that pass before my mind and heart. I remember Rueben who got married here at the PARC and Willie who now drives a truck from Dallas to California. I think about Jennifer who told me that she is a drug dealer, but sitting at the PARC doing the 'stupid projects' helped her to realize that she didn't have to do the same thing she has always done. The last time I saw her she was working in a warehouse. I think about C.J. and CeCe, Mark and Eric. I remember watching Chris find himself and his place through origami and the diligence of one of our volunteers. I saw Barbara fight for her sobriety by coming to the PARC to keep her mind busy and her spirit encouraged.
In the past 12 months 128 people have registered and 53 of those became members. Of those 53 members, 35 of them have found jobs and / or places to live. That means that 66% are out of the shelter or off the street and receiving income. This is only ONE of our definitions of success. Success is also when they fall down and then pick themselves back up, shake themselves off, and determine that they will not give up or give in. They are fighters and they fight and we fight with them. We walk beside them and encourage them to keep moving forward. At the PARC a person never runs out of chances.
It has been an honor to get to know those that have come to the PARC. I have made some wonderful friends in the members as well as the volunteers. We are looking forward to this next year and being here for those that will come and find their success. It is through the generosity of our donors and volunteers that those experiencing homelessness become aware of life's possibilities and break their cycle. Please join us as a volunteer or in giving financially.
Danny came to the PARC several weeks ago. He had just graduated from a drug rehab program and was staying at Salvation Army. He was struggling. We watched Danny fight. He set his goals and headed towards them with his eyes straight ahead. Danny was determined to stay sober, get a job and gain his independence. We watched him overcome obstacle after obstacle.
Danny doesn't have a car, but he has a bicycle. He would ride to the PARC in the mornings and then head out towards his required meetings and appointments. He would check in with us throughout the day. We would see him return so discouraged, but he continued to fight. As the days progressed, the friends he had graduated with began to relapse. Danny continued to fight. He attended a class here at the PARC where he was able to write a cover letter and resume. He took those with him as he looked for a job. He continued to fight.
Sometimes the obstacles he faced seemed too high, but he continued to fight. One morning Danny came in and told us that someone had cut the tires on his bike and stolen the tubes. He refused to let it deter him and continued to fight. He brought in a job application a few days ago and asked for some help filling it out. We encouraged him when he took in his application and then rejoiced with him when he came back to tell us he got the job!
This morning when I arrived at the PARC, Danny was across the street waiting on the bus to go to his first day of work!!! He was excited and nervous. I am so proud of him. Fighters fight.
I believe in Danny. He is a fighter, and I know that he will continue to head towards his goals. Fighters fight.
the PARC has been busy these summer months meeting and getting to know the many that have come through our doors. There have been so many wonderful 'success stories' to share of those who have found jobs and places to live. We rejoice in those, but there are many days at the PARC when our stories don't seem to end in 'success'.
Debbie is a favorite of all those who come to the PARC. She is witty and encouraging and loves her dog. You will never see her without a smile on her face. Her story, however, is a tragic one. 11 years ago she fell down some stairs and suffered some physical disabilities as well as a brain injury. She came back to Amarillo to be with her family and then her mother passed away. Her mother left the family home to Debbie and her sister, but her sister made Debbie leave so that she ended up in the Salvation Army. Her sister was the payee for Debbie's disability check and was using the money and not leaving any for Debbie. Many people came together to help her. She was able to gain control of her money and was on the waiting list for assisted living housing.
A couple of weeks ago Debbie's sister showed up at the PARC and wanted to take her back to her house. We were all concerned about the situation but Debbie wanted to go and see her dog. The next day her sister came back to the PARC to get Debbie for the second time. I visited with her for quite some time to be sure that this is what she wanted. She told me that all her sister wanted was her money, but it was worth it to see her dog. Debbie never came back. When we didn't hear from her for over a week, we became concerned. One of our volunteers knew where her sister lived and went to check on her. She brought Debbie back to the PARC while we went to check with Salvation Army to find out what Debbie's options would be. The Salvation Army said that there was a place for her there and that her housing was almost ready; however, if she moved back in with her sister she would lose her housing. When we came back and explained the situation, Debbied adamantly said that she did not want to go back to Salvation Army. We reluctantly took her back to her sister's house.
This is not the ending that we would have wanted for her, but it is what we do at the PARC. We do all we can to help those who come move to a better place, but we always realize that the choice is theirs. We will be here when they are ready to come back and pick up where they left off.
Next month, the PARC will be closed September 1 - 4 for a Membership Drive. Our members will use that time to invite people to the PARC. September 8 will be a time to welcome them back as well as the new ones who come with a big breakfast and a whole slate of new classes and projects. We would love to have as many volunteers as possible, so if you can help please call us at 806.367.8024. the PARC is changing the lives of those who walk through our doors one step at a time. They are becoming aware of the possibilities and gaining the confidence to move towards them. We would love for you to be a part.
Brittany and I were having a conversation yesterday and she began to tell me about how much she loves the PARC and why she likes to come. I asked her to tell me more about her reasons and this is what she told me.
"the PARC is with me in my every day life. It gives me room to think. I can meditate while I'm working on my art. It has taught me to focus more in here so that when I go out there I have more discipline. I feel valued when I am here. It helps me to know that people actually care about me and my well being. My confidence has grown because of coming to the PARC; [it] has built my self esteem. The way the staff and volunteers compliment me on my artwork and what I am doing in life has given me confidence to do what I need to do. Coming to the PARC has helped to keep me clean and it will definitely influence my future and help me to help others."
Brittany lost her children a little over a year ago due to her addiction. She lived at the Haven for 4 months and then has been at the Salvation Army for the past 3 months. Since then she has completed ARAD, an addiction recovery program and found a job. She is working so hard to be independent and self-supporting. She has completed all her work with CPS and is working diligently on her budget so that she can get an apartment and bring her children home. We are so proud of her and how committed she is to do all that is necessary to get her life back to the place that she can raise and support her children. Brittany is full of life and personality and makes an impact wherever she goes. I can't wait to see where life takes her. There is no limit to her possibilities!
People come and go at the PARC every day. We don't ever know what to expect on a day to day basis or who might walk through our doors. The past several weeks we have seen a definite transition in the ones who are coming. As we looked at our members log and ran some numbers, we realized that 70% of the ones who have been coming to the PARC have gotten jobs and or found places to live. I would say that those are numbers worth celebrating.
Julie started coming to the PARC around February. In March she suffered a setback, relapsed, and began to try to pick herself back up. Julie began and completed ARAD, a rehabilitation program, and came back to the PARC. She used the time here to grow in her confidence and find herself again. She began to dream. We watched her as she began to look for jobs and fill out the applications. Everyone joined in to help make sure the words were spelled correctly. We all rejoiced with her when she got an interview, cheered for her when she went, and then celebrated with her when she returned with the good news that she would start on Friday!! I wish you could have seen the smile on her face. We are so proud of her and hopeful for her future.
the PARC is in transition now as new members are coming in. We enjoy the new relationships that are being formed and continue to be amazed at the transformation that takes place as those who are experiencing homelessess find their value, remember their identity and become aware of life's possibilities. I hope you will join us as we help to break the cycle of homelessness in our community as the PARC offers relationship and gives opportunities for them to experience success. Volunteers are always needed to help with projects, lead classes and join in the conversation. Monetary donations are needed so that the PARC can continue to touch and change the lives of those who are often nameless in our community.