As you might imagine, snow days at the shelter can be a bit (read a LOT) chaotic. Fourteen kiddos running about playing, shouting, and living? A frenzy to be sure. And a fun one, at that. Why so fun? Because our kids are warm and healthy and happy.
It's a challenge to provide a nourishing and enriching environment in a transitional, group living situation. Our families come to us at a rocky point in their lives - possibly the most rocky yet. One part of our job is to provide a sense of safety and stability, from which they can relaunch into independence. All of our programming at AAHS, from the shelter to our financial literacy counseling to our rapid rehousing to our employment program, is designed to launch clients into sustained independence.
Today I've been here at the shelter during the snow storm. The kids have toys to play with, hats and gloves to brave the snow in, and warm food in their bellies. They've ransacked the play area and have grins on their faces. Our 14 year old teenager is curled on the couch watching a movie while her mom sits next to her, working on a paper for her BA degree. Early this morning in the bitter cold I helped a different mom scrape her car so that she could get to work despite the ice and snow. Just a few moments ago I heard another mom mutter to herself as she navigated her third online job application of the afternoon. The shelter smells like bacon and kids... like a home? I think so. Like a safe environment from which one can tackle challenges and successfully reboot.
Our families have a lot of needs. It takes a lot to relaunch a life.
You contribute to this launch. If you are on our email list, you have given your time and/or your money to AAHS and we value your contribution so very much. We know that you give a little piece of your heart each time. Thank you for being a part of our family and community.