This morning, as I parked my car at Empowerment Village, I heard the voice of a young boy yelling Cal! Cal! I looked up to see a six-year old running down the hill yelling, “Can I have a hug?” It was already a good day, but, then I saw a beautiful hot air balloon rising above the property into the sky and I thought, how appropriate!
Several months ago, a young boy, and his mom, came to Empowerment Village. They were exhausted, and afraid that life was never going to get better. After living in 10 different communities and several shelters, they just needed a safe place to stay, and to grow healthy. After an intake visit and seeing one of our homes he looked up and said to his mom “Please, Please, can we stay here?”
Today, he is settled in school and is truly thriving. Like the balloon rising in the morning sky, he is changing his future, and rising to heights that he never thought would be possible before coming to Empowerment Village.
It has been just under two years since Rancho Damacitas opened Empowerment Village to help struggling single mothers with young children move from dependency, fear, and shame to building a strong, thriving family.
Jennifer (named changed to protect her privacy per her request) is a young mother of two. She had just given birth to her second child when she left her physically abusive ex-husband. In response, he cut off all her accounts and financial support. Being just days away from eviction and homelessness, a spot at Empowerment Village opened and Jennifer moved in. Jennifer has a college education, and a good sense of business, but she had no family or support system when this transition took place. She just needed a place to help her get over these challenges and regain her family’s independence. Today, Jennifer and her children are flourishing! Jennifer has started her own business. She has learned to balance a budget and is developing time management skills to help her balance work and time with her children.
Single mothers struggle for many reasons. Families become homeless, because the cost of living or rent has increased to a level they cannot afford on one income. Mothers escaping domestic violence find their financial accounts have been frozen by their partner and cut off from all means of support. Safe childcare or reliable transportation may be difficult to find and can result in the mom losing her job.
We all know that if mom fails, the children are more likely to become “pass-a-rounds” or part of the already burdened foster care system. We also know, with the right support and guidance, strong moms can raise strong children who grow up to become thriving, contributing members of our community.
Empowerment Village is not just a place to live. It’s a place to grow. Moms are required to find jobs and meet financial obligations replicating real life. They attend classes on parenting, personal finance, as well as healthy living. They attend regular accountability meetings and have personal “Growth Charts” to measure their progress in each of the five values – Faith, Family, Friends, Finance, and Fitness. In return for their hard work, they receive stable housing and supportive resources to help them overcome barriers impeding there successful transition.
Empowerment Village and all of Rancho Damacitas’ programs are 100% funded through donations. We are replacing heartache and shame, with hope, as we work with young moms willing to do whatever it takes to bring success to their families.
Thank you for your consideration of support for the Mom’s and their Children, who, might otherwise be homeless. You can donate through our website at www.4kidsfirst.org, by mailing a check to Rancho Damacitas, 38950 Mesa Road, Temecula, 92592 or by calling 951-302-2317.