It’s Week One of the One Room Challenge and it’s only fitting that we begin by getting to know the family that will soon receive a Dwell with Dignity Atlanta home interior!
We first met Tie and her 3 boys during a special dinner at the Rainbow Village community house. After a long and typical day beginning at 3 AM shuffling to and from her workplace, taking her two youngest boys to and from school and after-school programs, and before going to college for her evening classwork, Tie finally sat down for dinner in the Rainbow Village dining room.
Tie sweetly smiled throughout the meal, lovingly looking upon her happy children, but the anticipation and fear of a new chapter was clearly weighing on her soul. This special dinner was Tie’s official graduation from the Rainbow Village two-year, live-in program for families escaping homelessness. Tie has excelled in every way possible during her stay at Rainbow Village and her graduation ceremony is a much deserved event to celebrate her achievements and send her off with blessings into the next chapter of her life.
Tie’s journey to this moment at Rainbow Village was a frightening uphill battle of deep sacrifices, physical pain and emotional scarring. With 3 sweet boys looking up to her, trusting in her and following her lead, one evening Tie packed all she could into the trunk of her car, asked her children to get in and then heroically closed the door on an abusive relationship. Not knowing exactly what to do now, but knowing that leaving was the most important next step, Tie and her boys found themselves homeless taking up temporary residence in hotel rooms whenever possible but sometimes spending nights in their small sedan.
Providing stability and safety for her family was of utmost importance for this courageous mother. Tie began calling homeless agencies and churches to seek the help that would allow them to survive. One of her calls was to a local Catholic church where Barbara D, a volunteer staffer, answered the phone and instantly recognized the voice on the other end as the former full-time caretaker for her husband. A couple of years earlier, Tie had been instrumental in tending to the every physical and emotional need of Barbara’s husband during his final year of life. Now hearing that Tie was in trouble, Barbara sprung into action and helped her connect with Rainbow Village.
It was then that the joy came back into Tie’s life. Her perseverance was strengthened and her fears began to subside as she committed to the Rainbow Village mission and programs. Over the course of the next two years, Tie took countless courses on life skills, finance, parenting, and more while her boys enrolled in top-quality after school care, tutoring, sports clubs and extracurricular activities with Rainbow Village.
Tie and her boys found a new community that was rooted in admirable values and surrounded in safety. This was exactly what they needed to get back on their feet, regain control and once again feel true joy and happiness. But on the night that I am meeting Tie for the first time, though she is filled with joy and faith again, the fear of the unknown is clear when you look into her eyes.
She receives hugs and hears testaments to her hard work and the character of children from mentors, staffers, teachers and friends. Well wishes are abundant and every single person in the large dining room knows without a doubt that Tie will be successful in her next journey. But the Dwell with Dignity team understands her fear and that is where our mission begins.
We believe that your home should reflect your best self. It should be a place of comfort, an inspiring destination to live out your dreams and a safe haven to nurture yourself and your loved ones. Often times the joy of a new home quickly wears off when you are confronted with the costs and effort associated with adding furnishings. Although our families have overcome homelessness and now have a roof over their heads, they often still do not have a bed to sleep on, blankets to keep warm, the tools to create meals, and tables to do school work and to dine together.
In the most simplest of terms, Dwell with Dignity’s mission is to make a house a home.