Member Stories 2014

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Capital IDEA

DSCN1299-300Once a high school dropout, Dana Charlez is now a Capital IDEA graduate. With only a GED and four children to raise, Dana continually struggled to make ends meet. Going in to Capital IDEA's College Prep Academy, Dana couldn't add fractions but soon math became one of her strongest subjects. With the financial support and guidance of Capital IDEA, Dana graduated in December 2011 with her Associate's Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography and she is now an Ultrasound Technician at St. David's South Austin Hospital. Now a financially stable professional, Dana is planning for her family's future.

Contact: Liz Ramon, 512-485-9341.
Pictured: Dana Charlez (in green) left of center, with family members at her ACC graduation in December 2011.

Caritas of Austin

Caritas_of_Austin_ Within one year, Sharon, age 61, had multiple strokes and was battling breast cancer. Because of Austin's cost of living, she was living in a 5-bedroom boarding house with 10-12 people residing there. Caritas of Austin helped prevent her from eviction and also helped her move into a 1-bedroom apartment she can afford. Sharon's Caritas case worker has also assisted with her medical care, food and transportation needs, and application for long-term benefits to give her a sustainable income. Sharon said, "Caritas has truly been a life saver...I am just thankful to be alive".
Contact: Lindsey Dickson, 512-646-1265.


HAND-300Annette receives personalized care and resource assistance through H.A.N.D.'s social services program. Recently, H.A.N.D. gave her a copy of a seated yoga DVD made by an intern she used to work with. Annette had this to say about the program: "With H.A.N.D., I'm not existing, I'm living. You have people that are there to help you, who will listen to you and don't judge you. They turn out to be good friends and that's what you really want. When you don't know who to call and you don't know where to turn they've been there every single time."
Contact: Amy Temperley, 512-477-3796x217

Meals on Wheels and More

Jo_Macdonald_400Jo Macdonald constantly worries about making ends meet. The 86-year-old widow struggles to get by on a small, monthly Social Security check. But Ms. Macdonald doesn't fret about food. That's because every weekday, one of Meals on Wheels and More's dedicated volunteers delivers a hot, nutritious meal right to her doorstep. Ms. Macdonald also receives, once a week, a seven-day supply of frozen breakfasts. "I don't know how I'd eat without Meals on Wheels," she says. "Meals on Wheels does more than nourish my body. They also nourish my soul. They help me keep my independence."

Contact: Thad Rosenfeld, 512-628-8131

Any Baby Can

Any_Baby_Can Before Evelyn's family came to Any Baby Can, they were able to maintain daily expenses but had no financial safety net. So, when Evelyn needed surgery and an expensive medical device to enable her to hear and develop speech, her parents faced the unthinkable: choose basic needs like rent or groceries over medical care that would prevent developmental delays for their child. In part, Any Baby Can served Evelyn's family by negotiating reduced rates for medical procedures and securing funds for medical costs. Today, Evelyn is a healthy, chatty little girl and her family is financially stable.

Contact:John Branham, 512-334-4426

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin Area

Rosas_Family_-_BGCAAIn 2012, Austin resident Juana Rosas and her five children lived in a one-bedroom apartment, had a broken down car, and little food/clothing. That year, the family received assistance from the Austin American-Statesman's Season of Caring program, nominated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area. They received help with basic needs, furniture, and rent. Boys & Girls Clubs staff member Holli Lopez works closely with the Rosas. After a year-long search, Lopez found a three bedroom apartment, arranged a car donation, and Juana is becoming self-sufficient.
Contact: Julie Barschow, 512-554-1930.
Pictured: Juana Rosas in the center with her children Maria, Roxanna, Juan, Yari and Jovana.

Accessible Housing Austin!

Elainna__112613Elainna is a vibrant young woman with a warm smile. The oldest of several children, she grew up in Austin and graduated from Pflugerville High School. Nine years later, she developed a skin disorder that caused her to have chronic arthritis and difficulty walking. Unable to work, she was able to obtain housing through Accessible Housing Austin!. Elainna and her son are very happy in their new home and neighborhood. Elainna feels safe letting her son play outdoors and plans to open a Southern Cooking food trailer. Her son loves his teachers and is doing much better at his new school. Watch a video about Elainna here!
Contact: Isabelle Headrick, 512-442-6680

Foundation Communities

When Leslie Goodson and her three sons moved into an Austin homeless shelter, she felt like her world was crumbling. Leslie had overcome a lot already – her first son’s life-threatening illness and the sudden death of her husband. Leslie learned about Foundation Communities while at the shelter. With Foundation Communities' support, she gradually managed to get back on her feet and provide her family with a safe, affordable place to call home. Since moving into one of their communities, Leslie has taken advantage of their financial stability programs and successfully completed their Free Minds adult education course. Leslie is truly thriving and hopes to open her own restaurant one day.
Contact: Alyah Khan, 512-610-4009

Front Steps

Front_StepsIn 2008, Roy moved to Austin for a job, but work and living arrangements fell through. Left with no job or place to live, things got really hard for Roy. Over the next several years Roy lived on the streets and in motel rooms, using drugs and working as a day laborer. At times Roy made efforts to pull himself together but when things started to improve his alcoholism interfered. Roy lost his day labor job and moved into the woods alone, where he lived for another year and a half just trying to survive his homelessness and alcoholism. One day after having much to drink, Roy experienced a near death accident. He fell 25 feet from an embankment overlooking Mopac Expressway. He was taken to the hospital and treated. Roy's family was unable to help and he had nowhere to go. The hospital social worker contacted Front Steps regarding the nursing home environment that their Recuperative Care Program offers. After participating in the program for 7 months, Roy moved into a Front Steps transitional home. Together with the Front Steps team, a care plan was created to help him acheive his goal of living independently. Roy continued to return to the nursing home as a volunteer and was eventually hired on as a paid employee. He now has a roof over his head in a place he calls 'home'.
Contact: Hannah Ford, 512-305-4153

HealthStart Foundation

HealthStart_picture-400 Tanisha’s parents wanted to try healthy fruits and vegetables, but could not afford to gamble with limited grocery money to buy something the family might not eat. But HealthStart’s early health education curriculum taught Tanisha to ask for snap peas and water instead of chips and soda, which enables her whole family to eat a healthier diet. Good health is the foundation of a successful life, and Tanisha’s family is building that foundation every day, thanks to HealthStart.
Contact: Robin Herskowitz, 512-782-4355