When Wilhelmina was just a toddler, her mother died. She and her three siblings moved in with their grandmother. During middle school, their grandmother was overwhelmed with raising four children, so Wilhelmina and her younger brother were placed in a fost er home. The foster home had many children and Wilhelmina often got lost in the shuffle. At 18, Wilhelmina entered a program designed to help foster youth transition to adulthood. She started working at Safeway and renting rooms or staying with friends. Though employed, the high cost of housing kept her moving from place to place. Wilhelmina was committed to supporting herself, but with all the stresses of work and bills, she often found herself feeling worried and alone.
Thank you, Hope Solutions. My life is forever changed from the program.
She lived like this for several years until she learned she was pregnant. Determined to give her baby the stability she never had, Wilhelmina entered a family homeless shelter and gave birth to her beautiful daughter, Zion. With support from the shelter staff, Wilhelmina finally found her forever home in Hope Solutions’ Families in Supportive Housing (FISH) program. Here, formerly homeless families receive their own safe, affordable apartment and ongoing support services to help them sustain housing and ultimately flourish. Wilhelmina is thrilled to finally have a home, and so much more. Hope Solutions’ staff member Barbara Henley has supported Wilhelmina and Zion every step of their journey from furnishing and decorating their home, to securing steady employment, and enrolling in college to finish her education. Inspired by Barbara, Wilhelmina is working toward her degree in social work so she may support others who are facing the kinds of challenges she has overcome. In addition, Barbara has helped Wilhelmina enroll Zion in preschool to give her an early start on a pat h to prosperity. Zion will be 5 years old soon and is already able to read!