Because OHFF’s programs provide young people and moms with funding and personalized assistance over a period long enough to allow significant sustainable change, it is not every day that we have a graduate. Below are just a few of our graduates. We could not be more proud of all of them!
Educational Mentoring Program
My brother and I were put into foster care because my mother wasn’t able to continue her motherly duties for different reasons. In the event that anything were to happen, my aunt was to take care of my brother and I who lived in New York. Things didn’t pan out well for us all so my brother and I were put back into foster care. While at Good Shepherds, I was blessed to be able to apply for OHFF during my sophomore year. OHFF invested in my college career to the end. With the scholarship came a funny and loving mentor whose name is Jennifer! My mentor and OHFF also, showed a great deal of care which I felt I was lacking, especially during my college career. This continued a connection even after attending my graduation which was a joyous day for all! On May 12, 2012, I graduated from Virginia Union University with a double major in Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing.
When you hear the term “two-timer”, it automatically conjures up a negative connotation. But in this case, we mean it as a compliment!
We launched our Educational Mentoring Program for the 2006/7 academic year with Marcus (not his real name) as one of our first two students. He received his Associates degree from FIT in the spring of 2009 and graduated from our program. Then, he continued working toward his Bachelors degree in Horticulture at a 4 year school and came BACK into the EMP to finish out his term.
This young man came into the program having faced numerous challenges before and during his time in the foster care system. His personal growth was inspiring to witness, he did well academically and his career path looked promising.
Marcus graduated from OHFF’s Educational Mentoring Program in August of 2012. Not only has he been steadily employed in his field of study since he graduated with his degree in May of 2012, but recently his boss and his boss’ supervisor approached him saying they want him to pursue a Masters Degree in his field, AND told him that his employer will pay for it! He plans to take them up on their offer. What a wonderful opportunity, and what a worthy recipient. We are so excited for his future.
We are so thrilled that Isaac graduated with a Bachelors degree in Economics from a 4 year NY state school and has a job with an executive recruiting firm!
Isaac would be the first to admit that he was a challenge. But those are the people who change the world, aren’t they? We learned a great deal from him during his time in the Educational Mentoring Program, and the program is better for it.
Now that he has completed this stage of his journey, we know the world will be his oyster.
Originally from Central America, Mirza joined our Educational Mentoring Program in the summer of 2010. She wrote, prior to joining the program, “Many people have judged me based on what I’ve been through and they have told me that I won’t make it far in life…I’m one of those people that believe that there is an American Dream…but opportunities won’t come to you, you have to go out there and look for them….I know that by continuing my education I can reach my own American Dream…maybe also help other people reach theirs.”
She had a solid plan and a good relationship with her mentors. And she managed to secure employment in the midst of this crazy job market. Mirza is smart, responsible, thoughtful, proactive and brave.
In May of 2013, she received her degree in Psychology from a 4 year NY state university. In her own words, “…I’m dedicating my degree to you guys, without you this would not have been possible. I will forever be thankful for all you’ve done, it truly means the world to me.”
Anthony, one of our students, was blinded as a result of gun violence a few years ago. Recently, two individuals created a powerful video about Anthony, including an interview with William, his mentor. It is definitely worth watching! Click on link to watch video. https://vimeo.com/66360477
Domestic Violence Initiative
Less than two months ago, S. graduated from our Transformation Squared Program. She is a lovely, smart woman who was hired by a prestigious NYC hospital at a salary of $40,500 per year! In describing her experience in our program, she wrote: “ My experience with Of Home, Family and Future has marked a turning point in my life. …Having previously been a housewife and stay at home mom and moreover having my hopes, dreams and goals to pursue a better life shattered by my partner over a prolonged period of time, my self- esteem was very low. However, after sitting down to discuss my goals and ambitions and working with them to map out a viable path to gain employment, I realized that I was that much closer to actually fulfilling my goals and making it a reality. The team creates an enabling environment for you to thrive in and works with you by guiding you in terms of framing a job search and career planning as well as giving you a stipend, Metro card and a laptop to help with job search and to cover your monthly expenses.” S. is an amazing woman who has lots to celebrate during this holiday season.
When they came to us, Maya (not her real name) and her oldest son were living with her father in his one bedroom apartment, while her youngest son was in Europe with his grandmother. Her abusive ex-boyfriend did everything in his power to derail her from moving on, including creating issues for her in the workplace. She was thousands of dollars in debt, because he had opened credit cards under her name, and she lived in constant fear of him.
We provided a safe place for Maya and her children to live, complete with a panic button for emergencies. We paid for childcare so she could work, talked her through personal and professional issues, hired an attorney to help her deal with her ex-boyfriend, financed property repairs related to 2007 flood damage and hosted workshops conducted by a psychologist who addressed parenting and family issues. We helped Maya learn and implement effective budgeting skills, clean up the poor credit history her ex-boyfriend created for her, access psychological counseling for herself and her children, gain financial counseling, identify and apply for first-time home buyer grants before graduating the program and refine her resume writing and interviewing skills.
During Maya and her children’s 5 years in our Domestic Violence Initiative, she took full advantage of the opportunities we provided her. She launched a wonderful career with management potential, earned an A in her first course in an MBA program, became a U.S. citizen and saved enough money to begin house-hunting. Her boys excelled both at home and in school, benefitting immensely from the stable environment OHFF helped provide them. Her family graduated from our program in the summer of 2011. Today, she and her two children are living in their very own house in a lovely neighborhood! She continues to progress rapidly in her career as a portfolio analyst for a financial institution, and her boys continue to thrive. This woman is amazing!
Life After the DVI
Susan’s family graduated from our DVI in June of 2009. They were among our earliest participants. While in the program, we helped Susan finalize her divorce, clean up her credit issues and provide a consistently stable environment for her two children. She left the program with a career-track management job in a retail chain.
Today, her children continue to excel in school and at home, and Susan has just been promoted to a key management position within her company. If you want to know what she thinks of the program, take a look at her Testimonial on this site.
I would like to share my experience with “Of Home, Family and Future”. For the last five years I was one of those lucky women who received such support from those wonderful people who represent the charity. The financial help that I received during this period of time and all the advice helped me to change my life, making it better. I was a domestic violence victim struggling with two children. With help from Of Home, Family and Future, I was able to grow and change everything for the better. I moved from NY, got a job, am able to buy a house and send my son to college. Working hard and being determined with tremendous help from those amazing people changed my life. Thank you with all my heart!