One of our former staff members had a motto: “Have an attitude of gratitude.” Everyone has something to be thankful for! When we are thankful, our focus is shifted from the things we want to the blessings we already have.
At Friendship House, we are thankful for the amazing community that supports us. Those who donate money, food, and clothing, those who volunteer, those who advocate, and those who pray all make it possible for Friendship House to feed, shelter, clothe, and heal those in need.
We asked some of our residents what they were thankful for this Thanksgiving. This is what they shared:
“I am thankful that Friendship House, and especially [House Manager] Brenda, has been so patient with me during my time here. They helped me swallow my pride to be in a homeless shelter and I am so glad I am here.”
“I am thankful for the donations that keep people warm!”
“I am thankful that I have money coming that will allow me to move into my own apartment soon.”
“I am grateful for the clothing donations, especially when I find items that are my size!”
“I am thankful for a place to live and that I have a job.”
“I am grateful that I am able to stay here. Because of Friendship House, I got to see my kids again and am 94 days sober!”
“I am thankful to be warm and fed.”
“I am thankful to the Men’s House residents who work hard to prepare most of the meals for everyone!”
“I am grateful for the roof over my head, for the donations we receive, and all the smiling faces here.”
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
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.
John’s story is all about healing. He has grieved the loss of loved ones and struggled with alcoholism, but today, he is filled with hope. Here’s his story:
John believes Friendship House saved his life.
Over the past three years, everyone close to him passed away, including his mother, grandma, aunt, uncle, and brother. Tragically, his dad committed suicide when John was young. In shock and alone, John self-medicated with alcohol and found himself living in the woods and behind alley-way dumpsters.
He visited various treatment centers to deal with his alcoholism, but said the other clients were so rowdy and rough that he only drank more.
When he heard about Friendship House, he knew it was where he needed to be. The warm, inviting atmosphere of the men’s house provided the safe space he needed to heal. He has been sober since arriving, and has no urge to drink.
“My life is so much better,” John says. “Everyone at Friendship House is so friendly. I know I can recover because of all these people.”
Today, John is working hard with our Men’s House Manager, Kristie Kaaland, to find housing and employment. "John is doing Friendship House right," Kristie says. "He is utilizing all the services available to him and is on the right track towards reaching self-sufficiency."
John's positive attitude of gratitude is a wonderful example to all our residents.
Friendship House provides shelter, housing, and basic necessities to thousands of people every year. We rely on the community's generous support to help our residents get back on their feet.
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