Community Outreach Programs

Published January 2016

Community outreach programs help people overcome difficult circumstances and gain greater quality of life. We’re proud to share how a program sponsored by Publix Charities gave a once-homeless mother the support she needed to achieve prosperity for herself and her daughters.

 

Being There: A once-homeless mother is blessed with a new start.

Frightened, confused, and low on hope, Genoveva Velasco took the most important step of her life when she entered The Salvation Army’s New Beginnings program. Seven months pregnant, homeless, and fleeing an abusive relationship, she had nowhere else to turn. The Salvation Army gave Genoveva the help she needed to start a new life.

“They took me in and treated me like family,” said Genoveva. “A social worker helped me set life goals, gave me counseling, and supported me.”

Residents of New Beginnings are required to work, contribute part of their salary, and build a savings account. Soon after her daughter Emily was born, The Salvation Army helped Genoveva secure a job cleaning houses and find free childcare.

“The Salvation Army was my support network,” said Genoveva. “I felt safe and was able to move forward. I lived there for a year and a half. It was truly a gift.”

After leaving The Salvation Army, she took a nursing course and became a caregiver for the sick and elderly. Today, Genoveva maintains a full-time work schedule and lives independently as a single mother.

Emily attends a local, private elementary school on scholarship and has a little sister named Lia. In her spare time, Genoveva works at the school and church to contribute to her daughter’s education.

“Emily is a very smart girl and always wants to help with her younger sister,” said Genoveva. “I cherish every moment I spend with my daughters.”

Genoveva has learned to focus on the blessings in her life, and her positive attitude helps others in difficult circumstances.

“When I meet people who feel their lives have no meaning, my life’s testimony gives them courage,” said Genoveva. “I’ve learned to be thankful and put my trust in God.”