These are recent heartfelt words shared by George, homeless Nursery father of Pearl and Guest Speaker at our annual Vanessa’s Promise Benefit Luncheon.
George’s background was no storybook tale. After hearing countless times he would never make anything of his life from his father, George moved out when he was just 15. He joined the Air Force, was in a long term relationship, and raised two children. Later, he worked for many years in the construction industry. When George’s home life changed, he decided to head to the Pacific Northwest to start fresh.
He got off to a rocky start in Idaho but eventually found a new job and a new relationship. This relationship included an existing family whom George came to love and raised as his own. It wasn’t too long before Pearl was born.
George shared that, “the relationship was never really easy but I worked hard to provide stability to the children. By this time I had a full time job that had turned into something permanent. Unfortunately, Pearl’s mom was not very reliable and I often had to call out from work to stay home with all the children. As you can imagine, I was let go from that job for my attendance issues. “
Pearl’s mother’s reliability and stability continued to decline, leading to a separation. George obtained full custody of Pearl but had no job to support them. As if things weren’t bleak enough, they were also homeless.
For the past year and a half, George has been on waiting lists, going through programs, looking for work and doing everything he can to ensure a stable future for Pearl. In George’s words, “I never score high enough on the assessment tests to get into anything permanent. The assessment tests look for things such as addiction and recovery, criminal history, CPS involvement – all things I don’t have in my past. It never crossed my mind that not being addicted to drugs or alcohol, never going to jail or prison or that my child has never had a case with CPS would be a negative thing. While I know I am doing the right things, it is slowing my ability to access services that we need.”
George currently stays at an all-male shelter where he is assured a spot as long as he is there every night. There are no shelters in Spokane where a dad can stay with his children. Having utilized the Nursery for diaper assistance in the past, George turned to us for help, securing a safe place for Pearl to sleep at night.
Pearl is thriving at the Nursery. She is now potty trained, is learning her letters, writing her own name, and so much more. For George, the most reassuring part is that Pearl has a bedtime routine. Pearl is safe at the nursery; she is rocked, read stories to, and put to sleep each night in her own bed with a pillow and warm blankets. Best of all, there are lots of caring people to watch over her when George can’t be there. “All of this is why the Nursery has been so important to me. Not only is the Nursery providing a safe place for Pearl at night, they love and care for her without hesitation or question.“
George adds, “For me, the Nursery has stood in my corner the entire way! They provide me encouragement, support and resources. It is a long journey. One I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I honestly don’t know where Pearl and I would have been without the Nursery and their amazing staff. It is the one place I continue to hear “yes” when so many others say “no”.”
Nursery staff helped George to connect with a case manager who provides guidance and assistance to George as he re-applies for housing programs. The Nursery was also able to coordinate for Pearl and George to have a hotel stay together without George losing his spot at the shelter – their first night together since Christmas! George has also found employment and hopes this long chapter may soon close, and that finally he and Pearl will have a new beginning.
George ended his story thanking the audience for supporting the Nursery and sharing, “Thank you to everyone here that invests in the Nursery and allows Pearl a home away from home. To you, I am equally as grateful.”