Pay it forward - From Client to Volunteer
Nearly 20 years ago, Paula was a young wife and stay-at-home mom with two small children, Jazmin who was 3 and David who was 6 months old. Despite very meager financial resources, she stayed home with her children to be more hands-on with them. Even if she wanted to go back into the workforce, I struggled with mental and physical health problems that prevented her from doing so. Her husband at the time was working, but they were living paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes, even the necessities were hard to come by and there were many nights she would search for a food pantry that could provide their next meal. They often relied on our parents to help us with money for diapers and formula whenever they got in a pinch, but they weren't always able to come through. She often had a feeling of desperation because they were right on the edge. They made too much to qualify for assistance, but not enough to survive on their own.
Then she found Infant Crisis Services. Before coming here, Paula thought whenever you needed help, being treated as “less than” was just the price you had to pay for getting what you needed to take care of your family. But the people at Infant Crisis Services were different in a way that is hard to explain. She said she was welcomed into the organization with open arms and treated with respect and compassion.
When she left Infant Crisis Services with bags of food, clothing and other baby items, she felt so grateful to have found us and felt inspired. It made her feel like she wanted to help someone else. She knew if she could feel that good after leaving a place like that, one day she wanted to return the favor. Coming to Infant Crisis Services not only provided her the basic needs for her children, it gave her a renewed sense of value and worth, and that made all the difference.
Today, Paula is self employed, a community leader and founder of her own nonprofit project called Aim For Success – a program designed to mentor teen girls and young women toward successful futures. She’s been happily married to her husband Charles for five years and he is her absolute best friend. She is also now a volunteer at Infant Crisis Services every week.
What brought her back to Infant Crisis Services, she said the hand of God touched her and her children each time they visited and she never forgot that touch. She volunteers because she believes that if you give people what they need and do it in a spirit of love, respect and humility; the rewards will be great.