Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, program manager Cindy Bringhurst, opened her comments to recognize transitional housing graduates by saying “be the change you that you wish to see in the world.” She went to say that, what she found most interesting as a long-time manager at The Way Home was “what may effect a change. When we are open to learn about other people, especially those we are seeking to help, we become better people.”
Bringhurst then introduced program graduates, each of whom bested a variety of challenges to complete the program. The graduates included single mothers Kari Lynn and Kelsie as well as Sabreen and Ahmed, recent immigrants to the Queen City. “Each of our graduates has overcome a unique set of circumstances to complete the program,” she said. “We salute all of them and wish them the very best going forward.”
The program is among many at The Way Home which serve to educate and empower its clients in need. Mary Sliney, the agency’s Founder/COO-Programs, explained that virtually all the clients served by The Way Home can benefit from this sort of training, be it how to maintain a safe household or manage finances. “Our mantra over the past 30 years has always been to offer a hand-up not a handout,” she said.
Among its many offerings, The Way Home’s Transitional housing program is a temporary “safe home” in which formerly homeless families can heal from past experiences work toward a better future. In some cases, clients are literally fleeing unhealthy situations such as domestic violence. The program provides supportive services and educational opportunities to help individuals and families set goals, gain new skills, and remove barriers to success. Progress in the Steps to Success Plan is shared in regular meetings with The Way Home’s Housing Counselor. “What is harder to measure but equally important is the improved self-esteem and pride you can witness as a family goes through the program,” added Ms. Sliney.
Through successful participation in the Transitional Housing program, the graduating families earn a Housing Choice Voucher helping them secure safe, affordable housing.
Speakers at the event included: Ms. Sliney and Ms. Bringhurst, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, Bianka Beaudoin- Chief Executive Officer and The Way Home’s Board Chair Rick Blais. Mayor Craig called The Way Home, “a true community resource,” and applauded the graduates and their families for their efforts.
The event also served to highlight several individuals and businesses who have made lasting impacts upon The Way Home and its mission. They included: 2019 Community Partner Award – St. Mary’s Bank, 2019 Compassion Award – long-time employee of The Way Home, Dianne Pitts. The agency also had two special recognitions for its 2019 Community Heroes, Sliney, who has dedicated much of her adult life to issues of homeless and housing insufficiency and Blais, a ten-year board member and long-time housing advocate in the city of Manchester.