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Large and small gifts make big impressions

Giving--and giving back

The Family Services Resident Choices Program provides critical eviction prevention support for low-income families living in Seattle who are at risk of losing their housing. This support can be the only thing keeping family members from finding themselves living on the streets or in their car.

Along with eviction prevention services, Resident Choices caseworkers help local residents with anything from educational and budgeting concerns to legal assistance and public assistance advocacy. The value of such support to local families cannot be overstated; however, sometimes smaller gifts are the most memorable for vulnerable families, as this client story illustrates: Jennifer, a single mother of two children ages 7 and 9, had originally contacted the Resident Choices program because her family was at risk of losing its housing. She supports her family on $300 a month that she earns babysitting.

In addition to her immigration issues, Jennifer was dealing with past domestic violence and was working closely with her case manager to finalize her divorce and stay current with her bills. Through a friend of the agency, Family Services was able to offer Jennifer and her family tickets to the 5th Avenue Theatre's production of "Peter Pan." Jennifer was thrilled, stating that the opportunity was something that neither she nor her children had been able to do in their lives. In fact, Jennifer was able to take her extended family, visiting from out of the area at the time.

She called right after the performance to thank Family Services again for providing her family with the opportunity to do something so fun and special together. She reported that the kids had not been able to stop talking about the show; they had not even been able to sleep because of their excitement.

This story is a great reminder that there are many families struggling to provide just the essentials and that the seemingly small gifts can have a big impact on the family's quality of life. Jennifer herself may never forget the help that she and her family received from Family Services at a critical juncture in their lives; her kids are likely to remember the magic of seeing a live performance.

For information on volunteering time or donating clothing, contact Steve Winter at 206-826-3039 or swinter@family-services.org

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