As you watch Opportunity House Senior Resident Val make lunches for our clients; she looks like a mother packing school lunches for her family. Val smiles as she tucks the meat and cheese into the sandwich and then carefully selects fruit, a snack, and a drink that clients enjoy at work. “This is how I do it for my family and Opportunity House clients are my family,” she said.
Caring for others is in Val’s DNA. When her mother became ill, Val packed up her family and belongings and moved back to Pennsylvania from Georgia to care for her mother. She and her family lived with her mother and stepfather until her mother died. Then unexpectedly, her stepfather sold the house, and Val and her family were homeless.
“I was scared. I was embarrassed. I couldn’t believe this was happening to us,” Val said. With nowhere to go, Val called Opportunity House. In her most vulnerable
moment, Val, her partner Ebony and two of Val’s grandchildren recall feeling warmly welcomed at Opportunity House.
Rebuilding her life was a daunting and overwhelming task. Working with her case manager, Val developed a plan to live independently with her family. Opportunity House provided the tools she needed to move forward. “They helped us save money and get housing,” Val said.
Her next step was to move into transitional housing. “It gave me the confidence to know I could live on my own.” Val was proud to demonstrate that she was responsible for keeping it clean and maintaining it. Then, she set a goal to secure permanent housing. Having the ongoing support helped her to continue to work toward that goal. “We got vouchers to OppShop to get furniture and other essentials we needed when we moved,” Val added.
Senior Resident Val Shares Her Story To Give Hope to Others
Today, Val, her wife, and grandchildren enjoy living in their home just across the street from Opportunity House. As a senior resident, Val enjoys the ongoing support of the Opportunity House staff, and it gives her the chance to help others. “I want to help others who are going through what I went through. I want to encourage them and tell them that they can change their lives.”
You’ll often find Val in the women’s dorm, welcoming mothers with children to adjust to life at the shelter and encouraging them on their journey. Her first-hand experience helps mothers stay focused on their goals.
When she’s not in the dorm, you’ll find her in the kitchen and pantry at Opportunity House. As she’s serving meals to shelter clients, she’s also serving up a generous portion of hope and encouragement. Val’s caring spirit shines when she gets a call that a client needs food. She gathers food items from the pantry to help those in need. She always includes a snack or treat to let others know she cares.
“I am thankful for all Opportunity House has done for me, and I want to help others who are going through the same thing,”
Thanks to the generous, ongoing support of donors and volunteers, stories like that of senior resident Val become our lasting legacy at Opportunity House. Join us as we help clients make long-lasting changes to eliminate homelessness, regain self-confidence and restore their dignity.