A Hand-Up: Amber's Story
One of the common phrases you’ll hear at Friendship House is that we offer “a hand-up, not a hand-out.” Amber's story reflects the difference that a “hand up” can make in someone’s life.Growing up, Amber was surrounded by a family struggling with both mental health issues and substance abuse problems. She is a domestic violence survivor and has two children, Curtis and Deon, who were constantly in and out of Child Protective Services because of her own drug addiction. She and her boys moved around frequently, sometimes living with family members and sometimes squatting in abandoned houses.
Amber came to Friendship House in August determined to stop using drugs and turn her life around. Curtis and Deon were enrolled in the local school district and the family began counseling. Amber was connected with STEP (Skagit Treatment Engagement Program), a chemical dependency treatment program that would help her overcome her addiction. She struggled with withdrawals and faced many obstacles getting the services she needed in the community, but she never quit.
“I was incredibly impressed with Amber,” Women’s House Manager Brenda Perkins says. “Even though she hit many road blocks that would make other people want to quit trying, she never gave up.”
As the oldest son, Curtis had taken on many responsibilities, including watching out for his younger brother. Staying at Friendship House allowed him to be a kid again. As Amber strengthened in her role of head of the family, Curtis was able to join the local Boys and Girls Club and pick up hobbies, like learning how to fish. He even caught several salmon that were served one night in our Community Kitchen.
Several weeks ago, Amber moved out of Friendship House into Community Action’s Family Development Center where she continues to receive supportive services. She volunteers her time at Habitat for Humanity and, as many of our alumni do, has returned to visit us at Friendship House. The staff is proud of her courage to overcome the obstacles in front of her and transform her life.
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