From Our Guests and Volunteers
Hello, my name is Ana and my daughter and I stayed at the Family Shelter last year. We received so much support from the staff, this was a tough time for us. They provided us with food, shower, laundry privileges, and our own room! I am so very thankful for these things. When we found a place to move into PASS assisted us with help for a deposit and utilities. As a single parent making $9 an hour I can't express how wonderful their help was, it would have taken me so long to do it on my own. I just want to thank everyone who supports the Women's and Family Shelters, they are really beautiful, loving and safe places to stay. The support, generosity, feeling of acceptance in a critical time of being homeless, and financial help truly changed my life, thank you so much! We are doing great today, my daughter is in 2nd grade and is active in gymnastics, and my job is great, and we still live in the same apartment, happily ever after!
Almost two months ago my family and I left a bad situation and came to PASS. Ever since we moved into PASS we have been given the opportunity to pick our feet up and put our lives back together. It is a very safe place to stay and we have been given many resources to get back to our own permanent home. We were blessed with a vehicle through a program they referred us to and along with a safe, warm place to sleep can focus entirely on our goals. We would like to thank everyone who has helped us with donations, volunteering and more.
I found a home away from home at PASS. Carrying one bag and one objective I entered this new life of staff supported dorm living. At first, all I wanted was to be invisible, but then faced with questions and many different personalities to interact with, I slowly began to look people in the eye and converse. I also found laughter again, which felt like emotional dessert. My main objective was to get into the right program for depression and anxiety disorders, this I worked at tirelessly. However, many times I felt overwhelmed and disappointed during the process. To my surprise, each time I needed support or comfort or ideas, there was a staff member there to offer a hug, encouraging words or just a listening ear. The simplicity of thoughtfulness can make all the difference in a fragile life. I am deeply grateful and encouraged by the outpouring of kindness by staff and the wonderful volunteers. My journey is not over yet but I do know that when I leave here I am walking toward hope, and with the genuine support of PASS.
Seven months ago I came to Prescott to turn my life around and someone referred me to PASS. I had lost everything except the clothes on my back and went to the shelter to talk to Katee; she welcomed me with open arms. Then I met Christine who I have the pleasure of calling my friend and she has also become one of my mentors, encouraging me to following my dreams. Then I met Carmen who I enjoy talking to. She has been helping me with resumes and hard decisions I have to face. These three ladies have been there for me through thick and thin and there is so much to thank them for. I want to thank them for trust, a second chance, a safe environment to get my self esteem back, job search and become self sufficient again. Thank you!
My name is Chris and I wanted to write this letter to give you my history and explain how I am blessed to be able to stay at PASS. I was let go from my job of four years and I moved in with a roommate I found on craigslist, paying my rent up front for three months. I found out that I was not on the lease and my roommate was evicted due to nonpayment of rent, giving me less than 24 hours to find a place to go. I was able able to get a bed at PASS, but with a recently broken hand I could not get a job right away, but I felt helped and supported from the start from the staff and volunteers.
If it wasn't for the donations that are received and the wonderful people who volunteer their time I would be on the streets, as would a lot of other people. I want to be able to thank you all for everything you wonderful, caring, loving people do for people you don't even know. If it wasn't for PASS I would be completely lost.
On a positive note I am now working three jobs to try and get back on my feet. I may not be in a place of my own, but I do have a place right now I can call home. Home is where your heart is. I have this place because of all of you, and I personally want to thank each of you. Thank you to everyone for the donations you all give, the food you all provide and for all of the time you give to PASS whole heartedly. I know it is not something you have to do, but something you want to do and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
In December of 2014 I had the wonderful opportunity of joining the Prescott Area Women's Shelter community. With the death of my youngest son in October 2013, I was, even after a year of bereaving, still unable to cope with the loss. I had a form of survivors guilt that was emotionally debilitating, I was unable to formulate a plan for my next steps, and I didn't believe I deserved a next step in life. This terrible pain made me not able to feel worthy for anything good to ever happen to me, as what kind of mother would I be if I even had a spark of happiness.
I had no plan, and I rode my bike here to Prescott, AZ. I realized, passing Yavapai College, how much I missed art and so I immediately signed up for school. By the time I got to PAWS I had taken the COMPASS test, and was in the process of qualifying for financial aid.
When I got to PAWS I was encouraged by Carmen, the then Director, to go to school and not worry about a job until later. I took that advice and after about two months I secured a part time job doing janitorial work at night. When that job ended, because the school year ended, I got a job as a care-giving assistant.
My boss at the Care-home saw my potential and offered to pay for my care-giving certification class, which I recently completed. I will be a certified caregiver and will be beginning this month with new hours that will not conflict with school.
All of the staff and volunteers have been amazingly supportive, even helping me edit my English 101 papers. I have learned to honor the next step before me, to suit up, show up and even when doubts plaque me to distraction-never give up.
This week I will be moving out of the shelter and I am thrilled. I will always be indebted to PAWS to the support I received. Winter was cold and I had a warm bed. My clothing was sparse and I was given beautiful clothes, I was hungry at night and fed good nutritious food.
I am so blessed to have been part of this magical place called PAWS. Prescott should be very proud of their women's shelter and I hope to continue being a part of the PAWS story as I plan on doing volunteer work in the future. To give back to the place that gave me a second chance at life is the least I can do.
I am a 62 yr old female, who fell into a series of bad circumstances. I had been under the illusion that being homeless and near destitute would never happen to me. I thought I prepared in life enough to make sure I would be secure until I died. However, all the planning cannot always be successful and have storybook endings.
I am educated with a Masters Degree and started working at the age of 15 and worked my entire life. Sometimes 2 and 3 jobs at a time to make sure I was meeting my financial obligations and saving here and there. My life has been derailed all because of my physical limitations that happened with previous jobs and I ended up having my home go into foreclosure. I put my tangible goods in storage, and started living in my van. My license became expired and my van was impounded and I was left in a parking lot in the pouring rain. I checked the internet for shelters and places to stay. They were so limited and all were full but I was put on a waitlist and eventually got into PASS. There is such a great demand for women's shelters.
Nothing in books could have taught me what I learned about running a non-profit, like the staff and management team at PASS has. The dedication of the management and staff, and the volunteers should be a guideline of standards for the day to day operations of all shelters. Our lives are already in such chaos, and trying to get back on track, the structure is a nice level for peace of mind, if only for a brief period of our days.
I ask people to help shelters like PASS, on every level imaginable. Mentors, employment counseling, and anything on a rope, that can he tossed down to us to help pull ourselves back up and get back on track and self sufficient once again.
The shelter offers the guests a stable, loving and supportive community. The staff are very compassionate and do whatever is necessary to assist the guests with their needs. When a guest arrives for the first time within minutes the ladies are taking her under their wing and helping her to feel at home. The ladies console each other in times of need, they share employment opportunities with each other, they support each other, they are family.
I have seen great changes among the guests during my time volunteering. Their self-esteem has improved and they are happier. They have a sense of pride while working and are confident when they leave. The guests are very grateful and eager to give back to the community. It warms my heart to see all of the positive growth and loving taking place at the shelter.
I am so pleased to be a volunteer with PASS and to be able to tell others about the wonderful kindness and compassion that encompasses the entire agency; from the staff and volunteers, the guests themselves, and from the community that supports us. The needs of women, children and families in crisis are overwhelming and support for these individuals is woefully limited, but I am proud to be part of what PASS and our supporters are doing to help those most in need. I am a retired special education teacher so I am used to seeing the good that comes from people helping others, but what PASS offers to their guests is exceptional. Glitches occur and not everyone loves every decision made (smile!!), but the overall dignity and respect for every individual is pervasive and many women, children and families' lives are impacted in a positive way every day.....including mine! Thanks PASS for all you do, and thank you PASS supporters for the important part you play in PASS's success.