Friday, February 17, 2006

Katrina Evacuees Donation Update...Feb 17 Update

I posted previously about my wonderful clients' generosity in purchasing two homes for Katrina family evacuees and the wonderful work of Foundation Communities.

A second family has now been chosen. I did not have the opportunity to meet this family so I asked one of the great folks at Foundation Communities to write a bit about the new family. This is what she sent me (only slightly edited to protect identities):

When the dad and mom heard about the storm, they didn’t hesitate to pack up their two daughters, 6 and 4 and just start driving. They eventually made their way to Austin. The dad has an aunt and uncle (and several cousins) who live in Austin, and they figured that they could stay there for awhile. The aunt and uncle took in over 20 relatives who were fleeing the storm!

The mom, who grew up in New Orleans and never dreamed of leaving, thought they would eventually return home. Then they visited what was left of their apartment in the ninth ward. The roof was gone, the walls were moldy, and nothing was salvageable. It was at that point that she began to see things as a sign that they were to start a new life in Austin. In New Orleans, she had been an elementary school teacher and a Girl Scout leader for her oldest daughter’s troop. Now she works for AISD as a substitute teacher. She hopes that in May when teaching jobs usually open up, she’ll be able to secure a full-time teaching position. She has just joined a new church, and feels more and more at home in Austin every day.

The dad also grew up in New Orleans. Recognizing there wasn’t any opportunity for him in New Orleans, he had thought about leaving, but didn’t want to take his wife far from her family. With a high unemployment level and most jobs only paying minimum wage, it was hard to save and get ahead. Before coming to Austin, he’d worked at the Superdome. Right after arriving in Austin, he got a job working in the warehouse at Large Austin Computer Related Company with which most of you are familiar. He’s very happy with his job and although it requires him to work the night shift it pays $4 more per hour than he ever made in his life.

As soon as they arrived in Austin, their aunt immediately enrolled the two girls in school. Since then, the girls have adjusted amazingly well. They love their new school, teachers and friends. On the weekends, the girls get to see their Aunt, Uncle and cousins. It has become a weekly event for the family that is here to get together for Friday night dinner.

In New Orleans, they thought about purchasing a home, but were waiting to become more financially stable to do so. With a job that paid minimum wage, the dad knew it would have been a long time before they would have been able to save enough. When mom and dad mom were told that they were the second HOPE family, mom couldn’t stop screaming with excitement. "This is really a dream for us, we’re staying in Austin!" Dad put on his Longhorn hat, a present from his wife, and they drove off to visit their new home.

Come on, visit Foundation Communities and help.

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