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September 26, 2013

The Lord’s Place is Changing Lives!

by PBUnitedWay

The Lord's Place - success storyWhen Christine Augustin stopped receiving child support for her children in January 2012 her financial situation changed drastically. Her part-time work as a school cafeteria worker was not enough to provide for her three children, ages 18, 11, and 5. By August they had been evicted from their apartment because she couldn’t pay the rent.

Now homeless, she and her three children resorted to sleeping in their van. On occasion the kids would sleep in her mother’s apartment, but because it is a seniors-only community, her mother risked losing her housing subsidy if the children were found to be living there.

Desperate to provide a home for her family, Christine called 2-1-1 and went to The Lord’s Place for an intake interview. She was then referred to the Lewis Center and found housing for six weeks in a hotel through Adopt-a-Family.

At the end of six weeks, she learned that there was an opening at The Lord’s Place Family Campus. At last, the family could live together in their own apartment while Christine worked to regain her financial footing and once again be independent.

“When we were living in the hotel, I tried to make it feel like home for my kids, but they were used to having their own rooms and I had to sleep on the couch,” Christine said. “At The Lord’s Place we have our own apartment and it makes life so much better.”

Soon after moving into The Lord’s Place Family Campus, Christine’s van broke and was not repairable, resulting in the loss of her job due to lack of transportation. Fortunately, she learned about the Job Ready program and Café Joshua internships at The Lord’s Place, which she could access through The Lord’s Place van transportation.

“Through the Job Ready program I was able to develop a good resume,” Christine said.  “Then I joined the Café Joshua program and went through the culinary program and really loved it!”

Christine has found a new passion through The Lord’s Place Café Joshua culinary arts training program, and she now loves her job.

“In other jobs I’ve had in an office or retail, I was just doing what I was told to do to get paid,” she said, “but now I’m doing something I love to do!  I love to cook and see people’s reactions.”

Christine also learned to take a leadership position in the kitchen, crediting The Lord’s Place staff with identifying and encouraging leadership skills she didn’t realize she had.

“I feel like I’m starting to move ahead now,” she said. “They see something in me that I wasn’t seeing. I took a leadership position in the kitchen and helped other apprentices. They would come to me and ask questions so I felt like they saw leadership qualities in me.”

Now Christine’s future plans include the possibility of owning her own small restaurant one day.

The lessons have also helped her family budget as Christine now realizes she can save money and serve more nutritious meals by cooking from scratch rather than spending more money on prepared food.

“I’ve learned so much and I will continue to learn,” she said. “I definitely feel differently about myself. I just love cooking, and it makes me feel good. I’m actually changing someone’s perspective about me and I’m helping others.”

Your support of the Town of Palm Beach United Way helps fund organizations like The Lord’s Place.  The Town of Palm Beach United Way has funded the Lord’s Place since 2001.  To date we have invested $678,500 into programs like Café Joshua and the Family Campus, and in turn make success stories like Christine’s possible.

Since 1945, the Town of Palm Beach United Way has invested more than $60 million into Palm Beach County because of generous donors like you. Although some of the needs since 1945 have changed, the Town of Palm Beach United Way is still helping people who struggle with hunger, homelessness, job loss, abuse, mental illness, and more.  To find out more about the Town of Palm Beach United Way visit www.palmbeachunitedway.org.   On behalf of the community that we serve, THANK YOU for the difference you make. 

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