House of Refuge Sunnyslope (HRS) has a scholarship program that’s available for residents in good standing. The program focuses on job-ready education such as earning a GED, attending college, trade schools, or earning certifications in their field of interest.
This gives them a crucial leg-up to better job opportunities.
Here are 3 stories of residents currently taking advantage of the program:
Written by Abel Sambrano, Men’s Program Manager
The odds of finding employment are greatly reduced when the current job market demands speed, youth and technology skills. This makes finding employment extremely difficult and challenging when an individual is discriminated because of age, a criminal background or physical limitations.
Edward (pictured above) was accepted into the House of Refuge Sunnyslope in somewhat similar circumstances. He was willing to work but was limited physically as to the amount of labor and stress that his body could withstand. Having limitations reduces the types of jobs, limits searches and makes life just a little more difficult and discouraging when all you want to do is work and to be able to provide for yourself. It was apparent that Ed was having difficulties in attaining a full time position after being in the program for approximately three months.
Ed was approached by House of Refuge Sunnyslope staff, during a monthly Goal Set Meeting, from a level of deep concern and compassion, and asked a very simple question,
“If you could do anything pertaining to your employment status, what would it be?”
His answer was direct and clear when he said,
He was interested in furthering his education in the digital marketing field. Ed was instructed to find a location that was accredited and that would give him the certification needed to make him marketable. He presented a plan, and HRS moved forward in the approval of a scholarship that is made available for residents that wish to move forward with occupational or vocational endeavors. Edward also agreed as part of the scholarship agreement to pay back a portion, (20%) of the full amount in payments as a gesture of good faith.
Edward currently works full time and is registered with SimpliLearn, earning certification as a Digital Marketing Specialist. The course length allows him to work at his own pace over the period of one year and his grades are currently at 96%. In addition, he continues to work to meet his financial obligations. It is such a wonderful blessing to be able to witness Edward’s excitement and growth knowing that God has provided him with this opportunity towards fulfilling his dreams and establishing a new career.
Hawa was born in Sierra Leon, Africa and was brought to the U.S. by her aunt as a minor child hoping for a better life. They lived in Pennsylvania. A couple of years ago, she followed a boyfriend to Phoenix. When the relationship fell apart, she found herself lost, in a strange city, alone with her 2 daughters, now ages 8 and 3.
She met a gentleman who worked at a car dealership, who just happened to be from Sierra Leon. There’s something when you find a compatriot from your country — they’re “family”. He was a God-send. He attends one of our supporting churches and had just learned about the work of the ministry. He told her about House of Hope Sunnyslope (HHS) — as part of HRS, it’s the transitional housing program for single moms.
Hawa became a HHS resident 10 months ago and she works as a home caregiver.
That’s all fine and good, but Hawa has a bigger dream — to become a nurse.
Years ago she dropped out of high school and needs her GED. She had started the process in Pennsylvania but the move stopped her progress. She is now in the process of finishing this goal through the HRS Scholarship program, a big task for a single mother of two who is studying during evenings and weekends. As she looks back on the last 10 months of her life, she can clearly see the hand of God guiding her. (Hawa was one of several residents baptized last month.)
Brittany is a House of Promise Sunnyslope (HPS) resident, which is HRS’s transitional housing program for single women without children.
Here’s her story in her own words:
My childhood wasn’t a pleasant experience, at all times. I’ve been abused, molested and wounded. I knew I was loved, but I had already been damaged. That damage and those wounds followed me. I’ve spent many years in corporate America, working in finance.
As I got older, I started to have internal conflict over money versus happiness. I wasn’t content with the money I was making. It was never enough, so I worked more. I struggled when my priorities changed and I started to value my happiness over money.
I was in an unhealthy relationship that had fed into my desire to make money and it thrived. Once my priorities changed and I focused on my happiness, things began to quickly crumble. I left my job to start my catering business and when I struggled, I couldn’t find my footing to rebound. My relationship ended abruptly and without warning. This caused tremendous financial burdens that I couldn’t keep up with. I was living outside my means and I wasn’t able to continue in that situation. That is what lead me to living in hotels and with friends until I was lead to House of Promise. This is where my story began.
[As a recipient of HRS’s Scholarship program] I’ll be attending Escoffier School of Culinary Arts to obtain my Diploma in Pastry Arts.
By obtaining my diploma in Pastry Arts, it will allow me to gain experience and teach me the foundation that every Chef needs. This program will provide me with the knowledge to be able to run the back and front of the house.
In addition to teaching the core foundation of French pastries. My long term dream is to one day move to France and study under the executive pastry chef from our school. I want to be able to obtain that experience and knowledge. My short-term goals are to secure an internship with a French bakery with extensive expertise in French pastries.
Ultimately I would want to start my own French bistro, either in America or in France. I know it’s a big lofty goal but it’s something that I always wanted to try and my dream has always been to run and own my own bed and breakfast. I know it won’t happen right away and it’ll take years. As long as it’s God’s will, I plan to follow it and continuously ask for his guidance throughout everything in my life.
All three residents are continuing to work full-time while pursuing their education.