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.