One of our mentor clients recently sent a note to us. It said, “Thanks for allowing a safe harbor to air my grievances albeit in a messy manner that would have been scorned and scolded by the general public. There is something very special about Valor and the mentor program and of course, Angela, my mentor. Angela gave me the strength to be angry with God at the appropriate time. Which until that moment, I always felt it was disgraceful to not only society but to God. Thanks for “Principle 4″ that helped me unload my baggage.”
Anna, Client, (Cheryl-Case Manager) wrote to us recently and said, “I want to thank all of you for helping me in October. I was trying to move into a house that is accessible for my motorized wheelchair, from an apartment that was not. I did not have enough money to pay the security deposit in addition to my first month’s rent. Your organization helped me to pay for the deposit. I am so grateful to you! I love my new home. I am able to cook meals in my kitchen, which I could not do before. I can navigate every room in my home. Also, my new home is in the town where I grew up. I am able to visit my mother’s grave now and am closer to my sister with whom I recently reconnected after 56 years of estrangement. I also have more family in the area that I hope to reconnect with in the future. Thank you again for all that you do and God bless you all.”
Shane, EWYL class participant, told his instructor, “When I learned I had to attend classes in order to receive aid, I had no problem attending. But after taking the four classes, I really think the value of the classes was even of greater value than the money you gave me.” When asked what he found most beneficial about the class on his exit survey, he stated he liked that it was a “non-judgmental class.”
Sherry, Client (Cheryl-Case Manager) was a homeless female with three children (two of which receive SSI because of their disability). She had been living in her car or at her older daughter’s home when she could. She lost her apartment eight months prior after the death of her mother and brother. The grief caused her to lose her employment.
The client was able to find a new job and apartment. Her expenses outweighed her income when she first came into the center. Cheryl began working with her to straighten out her financial situation. Cheryl stated the client has worked very hard to decrease her expenses. She cut her cable bill in half and was also able to cut expenses for groceries, clothing, and personal items by going to area clothing and food banks. Cheryl was able to move the client from a negative to a positive cash flow each month. The client obtained housing with financial assistance from Valor in March after fulfilling all her obligations to receive aid.
Paul and Katy, Clients (Tony-Case Manager) are a couple who were living in CAC’s transitional housing unit and had very limited income when they came into the area. The client visited Valor after being referred by CAC. They were looking for financial assistance for first month’s rent. They also received clothing at DWC for job interviews. CM stated they were making every attempt to improve their situation and maintained a positive outlook throughout their ordeal.
CM made a call to the client to inform them about the pledge Valor was making on their behalf. Katy stated that they now have a beautiful 3-bedroom apartment, something they did not believe was possible based on their experience living in Massachusetts. She went on to say they have both obtained jobs and Paul’s faith has increased through this crisis. She then told the CM that they loved the life skill classes they attended at Valor and want to attend more of them when they have free time. The wife then asked the CM to tell everyone thank you for the help they received from Valor and for telling them about other county programs and services that were available to them.
Wendy, Client, (Jamie-Case Manager) who obtained clothing from the Draped with Confidence Boutique after taking required classes for assistance. She called in to say “Thank you” for all of Valor’s help because she was recently hired for a new job.
Katosia, Client (Cheryl Sims-Case Manager; Denise Miller-Mentor), was an unemployed single mom referred to us from Western MD Consortium. Not needing any financial assistance, she was referred to us for long-term case management. The client had no income so her first goal was to find stable employment so she could move out of her Aunt’s home into her own apartment. The client had barriers to employment due to criminal activity in her past. She did not receive any support from the child’s father because he was currently incarcerated.
The client started attending classes and within a matter of days, she received clothing for upcoming job interviews in the DWC Boutique. Her case manager then began the process of helping her update her resume and prepare for questions during the interview process.
The client also requested a mentor to begin working on her emotional and spiritual well-being. It was during these sessions that the client stated she was experiencing stress as a result of her current circumstances. She was also experiencing some health issues which were triggered by the added stress. The mentor worked with her to help her reduce her alcohol usage and continue taking her medication and eating healthy.
The client then asked to volunteer at Valor to remain eligible for her Temporary Cash Assistance and to add experience to her resume. The client began serving in the boutique as well as the training room. In April she was excited to share that she started attending church again with her son and that she was offered a job at Staples. She also stated that her TCA was approved and she was working with HHA to obtain housing subsidies. The client was very excited about all the blessings pouring into her life and even asked to continue volunteering and taking classes on her days off.
When asked about her experience at Valor she stated, “I was in a dark place when I first came in but now things are awesome!”
Michelle, Client (Cheryl-Case Manager) is a single female with a developmental disability. She started long-term case management in February of 2016. Her goals were to learn how to budget and track her spending. This was very important to the client because she had recently moved into her new apartment. Her case manager worked with her to review her monthly income, complete a 30-day budget diary, learn the differences between wants and needs, and create a labeled folder system to manage her receipts.
The client attended five appointments over a one month period. She was always on time and eager to participate. At the end of March, client stated her desire to end case management because she felt she had learned the skills needed to retain stable housing for herself. She expressed that she was happy, loves her apartment, doing well, and would like to keep in contact with Valor.
Amanda, Client (Barb-Case Manager) is a single mother with two children. She had left her husband in June 2016 due to physical abuse. She came to the center looking for assistance with an electric termination notice. She had been to CAC and DSS but was denied because of insufficient income. Their income criteria is different than Valor’s; however, our program manager believed that she was a good candidate for aid because her family was getting very close to obtaining public housing through HHA which would result in more income. Because of the assistance Valor provided, the client and her children were able to stay in their home until receiving their housing subsidy.
Crystal, Client (Jamie-Case Manager) is a single mom with three children. She had previously been homeless but was living in her own apartment and struggling to pay bills due to one of her children’s chronic illness that required her to miss work. The client was working at McDonald’s and had requested more hours but had not received them. DSS was unable to assist because they were out of funds. During her assessments, it was revealed that their family needed help with childcare and food. Jamie worked with her to make sure that she had a plan for next month so that she wouldn’t be in the same position again. She also provided additional resource information to help meet her needs. The client was not mandated to take classes because she was employed. Because of Valor’s assistance, the family was able to keep their apartment and not go back on the streets.
Faye, Client (Cheryl-Case Manager) is a single mother with four children who came into the Valor Crisis and Training Center with her Housing Case Manager from DSS. She was recently asked to vacate her apartment and was getting ready to move into a new one. As a result, she needed help with a security deposit. DSS and the WC Mental Health Authority were pledging funds toward the balance and DHCD was subsidizing a portion of her rent. Valor’s assistance helped her family move into their new home and she has remained in a better financial position because of her rent subsidy.
Beverly, Client (Cheryl-Case Manager) is an older grandmother who came to the center for help with a security deposit for a new home with more bedrooms. She had recently been awarded emergency custody of her two grandchildren and was in the process of obtaining TCA as well as death benefits for one of the children. She was under a lot of stress going all over the county searching for help due to the sudden responsibility thrust upon her. Valor, along with other agencies and a local church, provided the funds she needed to provide a stable home environment for her grandchildren.
Crystal, Client (Linda-Housing Support Specialist (HSS), Angie-HSS) The client was a homeless female who was looking for an apartment. In the fall of 2015, she began working with Linda Faulder and they began by focusing on her financial condition. With Linda’s assistance, she was able to find an apartment but soon found herself struggling with her landlord.
In April, the client returned and met with Cheryl, CM. Later that same day, Angie, our new HHS, called her to see how she could assist her in finding a new apartment. The client stated that once she left Valor that day, she found out she was able to get into another apartment which she attributed to God working on her behalf. She also said her new apartment is nicer, has a washer/dryer hook up, and she is able to park her car very close to her door. This was extremely important to her since parking was an issue with her previous landlord.
At Valor, one of our goals is to let our clients know they did not come to our center by accident. We also tell them that the answers to the problems they are facing will not be found in any individual or organization. It will not be found in a check that is written on their behalf. No, true HOPE is found in the Lord—who is their ultimate provider. He is the one they need to reach out to when struggling. Nothing brings us greater joy than learning our clients give God all the glory for their success.
Encounter City Park is more than music! There is nothing like being in the right place at the right time. Part of Valor Ministries outreach is through music at the Hagerstown City Park band shell. You just never know who is passing by and connects with the positive Christian music. That is exactly what happened one evening. A woman hurting from the death of her husband and recent job loss was wandering through the park trying to understand how her life could be such a mess. She met with our Valor Ministries volunteers to talk about what we do. She immediately connected with the idea of helping those who need help. She later reached out to our volunteer coordinator to learn we needed exactly her skills. God’s timing is perfect.
Our new friend started working with us and as she helped others and got to know other volunteers, her life began to change. The sadness and desperation were replaced with peace. Within a few months, she was beaming with excitement. She told our Executive Director that she had her “joy” back! She was offered a job doing what she loves doing. It is our pleasure to be there for people struggling with life’s hurts and disappointments. We become trusted friends who encourage looking for the better in life.