After being kicked out of high school because of his behavior and anger issues, Gary is now back in school and his grades are even improving.
And his mom says he is helping around the house with the chores without even having to be asked – something difficult, if not practically impossible, to get a teenager to do.
Thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans® we are able to provide grant funding to our partner in Gainesville, Georgia, L.A.M.P. Ministries. Now, Gary’s life trajectory has taken a major turn for the better.
L.A.M.P. works with troubled youth before they find themselves in serious trouble at school or with the law.
To help him take out some of his anger issues in a positive way, L.A.M.P. enrolled him in a gym where he has taken up boxing.
“He loves to box,” said L.A.M.P. executive director Mary Mauricio. “He says it has really helped him to stay out of trouble.
“His mom is so grateful to L.A.M.P. for our interest in her son,” she added. “All thanks to Americans Helping Americans® for making it possible.”
Donna came to the Samaritan House pregnant after going from place to place after she and her boyfriend were evicted from their apartment for financial difficulties. At the same time, her ex-husband was trying to get sole custody of their 4-year-old child.
“Clearly, Donna had made several very poor decisions,” reported Jean-Ann Washam, executive director of Appalachian Outreach, Americans Helping Americans® partner in Jefferson City, Tennessee, which operates the Samaritan House for homeless women and children.
But thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans® and the dedicated staff at Samaritan House, Donna was able to put together a set of goals to help her get on a better path.
In addition to making and keeping appointments with her doctor , she had to look for work, which, with her doctor’s approval, she was able to do. She found a job at a nearby gas station that had had a “help wanted” sign in the window.
With funding from Americans Helping Americans® for Appalachian Outreach’s job readiness program, Donna was able to purchase a few shirts with collars and a pair of skid-proof shoes which were conditions of her employment.
A short time later, an even better job offer came through at a local factory which paid much more. Donna and her boyfriend, who had been living with his parents, found a mobile home they would be able to rent shortly before the birth of their baby girl.
“Our hope is that Donna will resolve the many issues she has had and will make changes as needed,” said Jean-Ann. “Thank you Americans Helping Americans® for allowing us to have the funding to help women like Donna get back on their feet and have a fresh start.”
Tanya, who has learning disabilities, grew up being regarded as “stupid and useless.” However, that did not deter this determined young woman from becoming self-sufficient.
Today, thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans®, our partner in Cleveland, Georgia, Caring Hands Ministries, was able to start its Farm and Home Program. The program matches farmers with affordable helpers. In return, the farmers not only pay their wages; they provide them with a place to live on the farm.
“Tanya is now part of our Farm and Home Program and for the first time sees herself as valuable,” says Caring Hands executive director Ann Fleming.
“The farm owner is pleased with her work and says she will have a job and a home as long as the farm continues.
“She has a lot to learn, but she is learning – and also learning to let her family know that she is not ‘useless.’”
Caring Hands’ Farm and Home Program is a win-win, not only for people like Tanya, but also for struggling farmers.
“One farm owner says the program is helping save her family farm,” Ann told us.
In March, a total of 48 students from the University of Richmond, Notre Dame University and Rider University spent their spring breaks in McDowell County, West Virginia instead of on a beach in Florida or skiing in Colorado.
For several days each, these young men and women got up early, worked hard all day and slept in bunk beds in a dormitory in a former high school – all to make for a better home for a stranger.
Each year, Americans Helping Americans® partners grassroots organizations in rural Appalachia, such as Big Creek People in Action, to assist them on their home rehabilitation projects so elderly and disabled homeowners can remain safe in the homes they love.
These dozens of students worked to lay laminate flooring in the living room of Christy, a mother of three with severe diabetes and other health issues.
They repaired the kitchen floor of Melinda, whose husband has a serious illness and their son has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
They replaced the insulation and sheetrock for a woman living “in an old cabin down by the lake.”
For Shelly, who survived cancer once and is battling it again for second time, they tore out her rotting kitchen floor and replaced it with a new one with new linoleum.
None of this would have been possible without the supporters of Americans Helping Americans® who made it possible for us to provide the funding to Big Creek People in Action, making it possible to buy the linoleum, insulation, sheetrock and other materials necessary to the do the job.
This month, Big Creek People in Action has a church youth group coming in this month to replace a leaking roof for a disabled couple on a fixed income who never could afford to have their roof fixed on their own.
And through August, school and church groups are scheduled to come to McDowell County to lend a helping hand and today we are asking you to help our fellow Americans with a gift that leads to people like Christy, Melinda and Shelly being able to stay in their homes.