Dear Day One Friends,
Thanks to your generosity and support, I have great news to share. On April 1st the Day One Project officially commenced programming with 3 families for our first Saturday education session. The 3 families attended an orientation session after completing the required screening, application, and formal interview process. As we continue to meet with more families, we hope to fill the class to 5 families in the near future. At this point, we have talked with17 families, but only 4 have made it to the formal interview. All others have self-selected out of the program by not returning the application or not showing up for a scheduled interview.
The participating families will attend 12 weeks of programming before meeting eligibility to be placed in housing. The programing includes parenting, early childhood education, financial literacy, physical and mental wellness, and career and education planning. The hope is to have 5 families in housing by July 1.
There is also exciting news on the housing front. It looks promising that we will partner with Naomi’s place, a non-profit that had previously provided housing for women in recovery. Due to changes in HUD funding, they can no longer use their 5 two-bedroom unit building for their program. This partnership will allow us to have all of our families under one roof, in quality apartments, in a good location. We will also have a landlord who is committed to our mission. We are currently working out the details of this arrangement.
Please see a brief introduction to our families below.
Ranaa’s son Remington is 2 years old and was born during her senior year of high school. Ranaa persevered, graduated from high school on time, and is currently a sophomore in education at Duquesne University. Her current lease ends soon and she is having difficulty balancing school, work, and caring for Remington. Day One will allow her to focus on school and Remington and ease the stress that housing uncertainty brings.
Chyna’s daughter Tao is 4 months old and was born shortly after Chyna graduated from high school. She is currently living with her mom, working in home health care, and hopes to obtain her RN degree. She attends Day One programming on Saturday mornings after working a 12 hour overnight shift. She is highly motivated to be independent and would like the opportunity to have a space to grow as a person and a mother.
Erica’s son Henry is 15 months old. He was born premature, diagnosed with a brain abnormality, and spent the first 3 months of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit. Erica was forced to quit her job, move back with her parents, and spend all of her time and energy caring for Henry. Henry is doing very well and Erica is ready and anxious to resume her independent life. Day One will provide the support she needs to get back on track.
All of these young women have shown a commitment to their future and a determination to better themselves and their families. Hopefully with the help of Day One education, housing, and emotional support we will watch them thrive.
As we start the real work of this project there will be days when the task seems daunting and complicated beyond belief, but as I often remind myself that is NOT a reason to back away. Through our successes and setbacks we will remain committed to providing these families with the opportunity they deserve. Thank you for helping us turn this idea into action.
Muzz Meyers and the Day One Team