With less than what you would spend on stamps or movie rentals every month, you can help put a roof over someone's head and insure a mother and her children get a shake at a happy and fulfilling future.
Take pride in what you do with your paycheck, regardless of how high you are on the giving ladder. And see how you can make a huge difference with funds comparable to even the smallest household monthly purchases.
From professional triumphs to personal milestones, read firsthand testimonies of how Brevard Rescue Mission is steering individuals onto a stable path — and helping them go from rock bottom to 'rock solid'. Since our opening in 2009, we have had a significant number of success stories. Here is a sampling.
Before 20-year-old Stephanie and her 15 month old daughter moved into Casa Carol, she was living in a volatile, dangerous family situation in Titusville. When asked what kind of job she envisioned, she lit up as she described her only previous job as a cashier at CVS. Once she was given the brief opportunity to fill in as a pharmacy cashier and thought THAT would be a great job. Using Brevard Rescue Mission’s vocational outreach program, Stephanie was hired within weeks as a Pharmacy Cashier at a nearby hospital. So energized by her new job, Stephanie began to explore the possibility of studying for the Pharmacy Tech exam, which would allow her to be promoted. The staff at Casa Carol helped make that possible, and provided encouragement and tutoring assistance as she prepared for the exam. Within six months, Stephanie had passed the exam and was promoted to Pharmacy Tech! This promotion increased her salary to more than $12.00/hour, plus she was able to afford company health insurance. Further, her daughter was able to be placed in a wonderful daycare center at her job, which meant Stephanie could walk with her daughter to and from work. During her stay at Casa Carol, Stephanie lost 60 pounds. Just before she graduated from Brevard Rescue Mission, Stephanie was provided with a donated vehicle which was the final puzzle piece that allowed her complete self-sufficiency.
One of the first priorities for the residents at Casa Carol is to obtain a GED, if they do not have a high school diploma. Nancy had been struggling for 8 years to get her GED through Adult Ed, while working part-time. She and her 9-year old daughter were homeless and in a desperate situation. Nancy had security guard experience, so her case manager helped her devise a plan to work part-time at a security job. Casa Carol has a fleet of sturdy bikes with child carriers funded by the Bristol-Hansen Foundation, so Nancy was excited to ride a bicycle to work. As she gained confidence in her work, she was ready to take on her GED and complete it this time. Through a combination of Adult Ed and private tutoring by BRM volunteers, we celebrated the achievement of Nancy’s GED nine months later. Nancy was then given additional hours at work, allowing her to achieve self-sufficiency. She also received a donated vehicle and furniture for her new home as she graduated from our program. Nancy and her daughter drove off from Casa Carol after 18 months, with tears of joy, confidence and renewed self-esteem.
Danielle required the support of a cadre of volunteers to assist in attaining her GED. She had an infant and two older children, one of whom had major behavioral problems. For every tutor, it involved one or two volunteer babysitters to keep the kids! It took nearly a year, but Danielle was able to pass all four exams on her first try! Her case manager worked tirelessly to also gather specialists through the Brevard School system to help with early intervention for her son. Danielle was eventually able to gather enough resources to return to Puerto Rico where she could receive family support as she entered the workforce, this time with a GED!
Delayed dental care often keeps homeless women from becoming employable. Soon after Chelsea and her son moved to Casa Carol, we had a volunteer donate three full days to arrange for Chelsea to have her wisdom teeth removed. The nearest provider was in Orlando, so when the necessary appointments became available, we arranged for her to get the care she needed. Volunteers stepped in to provide transportation, to babysit her child, and to provide post-surgical care until she was able to care for her son on her own. Without Casa Carol providing all this care, she would likely still be in constant pain, struggling to keep a job or stay in school.
A laundry room is no place for a twelve year old to live, but Chris and his mother and sibling inhabited the laundry room of a reluctant relative before coming to Casa Carol. Chris was required to ask permission to leave the laundry room to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water. He loved science, and when he exhausted his computer time at one library, he would visit another. During science fair season, it was not unusual for him to visit 3 libraries in an evening! When Chris and his family arrived at Casa Carol, his mother broke down in incredulous tears stating, “My son has never had a desk of his own before!” At Casa Carol, Chris had computer access to his heart’s content, and didn’t worry about which librarian he would beg to secretly keep his science projects. Chris’s mom networked with another resident and later became a Pharmacy cashier and is now self-sufficient. At the family’s graduation from the Casa Carol program, Chris remarked, “Casa Carol taught us to do things we never thought we could do, like paying our debts and managing our money.” This was a truly a family transformation.
14 year old Zoe lived with hostile family members while her mother was incarcerated. She was reminded daily that she and her mother were no good. When her mom was released, they came to live at Casa Carol. Zoe began to thrive, and her grades escalated in her new nurturing environment. She is now an Honor student and with Casa Carol networks enjoyed a scholarship to the Florida Tech Young Entrepreneur Camp this summer. Volunteer mentors recently helped prepare her for interview for a scholarship that will allow her to go to college once she completes high school. She and her mother have encouraged each other in their respective studies, as the mother just recently completed her degree in Cosmetology.
Nine year-old Gabby came to Casa Carol struggling with untreated ADHD and failing in school. While she was at Casa Carol, her health issues were addressed and she had a volunteer mentor that visited weekly to assist with her school work. Her behavioral issues quelled and she is now scholastically thriving and keeping abreast with her peers.
Jeremy represents every child who enters Casa Carol. Initially, his intense fear was palpable. Jeremy was unable to make eye contact with anyone, and he excessively worried. Slowly, he sensed he was in a safe, secure environment and his confidence level grew. He is now talkative and giggles and feels a sense of permanence in his new home. He delights in seeing his mother succeed.
Traci graduated from Casa Carol after two years of work and commitment to our program. Through the assistance of BRM, she was able to attend cosmetology school and passed her Cosmetology boards! She worked part-time at Taco Bell while she acquired her education. All of her hard work and studying paid off! While at Casa Carol, her daughter was accepted into the Take Stock in Children program that will pay for 2 years of community college when she graduates high school. She graduated from Casa Carol in July 2012 and she loves working in her field of cosmetology full-time. Traci and her two children moved to a two-bedroom home and have connected to a wonderful church in Melbourne that provides them a great support network.
Liz came to BRM with a license as a Medical Assistant but without a job. Her medical needs kept her from securing a full-time position. Once she arrived at BRM, we were able to provide the medical assistance she required to stabilize herself and situation. She then began her quest for a full-time job. After searching for weeks, Liz found a job as a medical receptionist in a position identified as temporary, hoping it would convert to permanent employment. Through the financial planning and budgeting classes offered at BRM, Liz recently paid the balance she owed to DMV and now has her new driver’s license, which she will be most happy to show you. She and her family have a bright future.