Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Meet Sharon!

Meet Sharon

Dear Friends,


2021 came with new hope for a safer future and promise of normalcy. There were still challenges and unprecedented moments, however, supporters like you ensured we were ready. Thank you! On behalf of the staff and our clients, please know you are appreciated and our gratitude towards you is enormous.


Throughout the year we kept our supporters updated with our newsletters and social media campaigns. We were able to tell the stories of so many of our inspiring staff and clients here in East Orange, NJ. Now, as the year comes to a close, I want to introduce you to one more special person.


Sharon came to Isaiah House in July 2020 in crisis during a year that was challenging for even the most privileged. She arrived with her infant son, Michael*; her other son Alex* had recently been placed into foster care.


As a young mother, she was in great need - not just of a safe shelter, but of a chance to start again.


She entered our Community Creche Program to become an independent mother and reunite with Alex. Postpartum women experiencing challenges enter our fully supervised program with the goal of securing permanent custody of their babies. Often times, they are also working towards reuniting with other children who may be living with family members or foster parents. Isaiah House’s expert, caring staff work closely with the mothers and state appointed case workers to ensure these goals are met.


In the year and a half she has lived with us, Sharon has experienced many important life events. She started a path to recovery, gaining her health back in the process. She reunited with Alex.


Through access to a daily structure, supportive services, and a safe place to eat, sleep and care for her sons, she has become the mother she knew she could be.

In October Sharon was nominated for our Resident Shining Star Award for her exemplary growth. Sharon credits the Isaiah House experience for her transformative year:


“I can honestly say I tried. I put my all into fighting, it took everything out of me and Isaiah House helped me…They don’t just give up on you, but you have to want to do it for yourself as well. If it wasn’t for the mommy and me program (Community Creche) I don’t know where the heck I would be.”


Sharon is ready to explore her promising new future. With the help of one of our dedicated Community Outreach Workers she has obtained employment at a local community health center. In November 2021 she graduated from the Community Creche Program and recently qualified for a residential voucher through the state of New Jersey. Currently, Sharon is staying in Isaiah House’s family unit with Alex and Michael as they search for local independent housing.


The staff has taken note of Sharon’s progress. Miss Theresa, a Case Manager for Community Creche says,


“Sharon is a very strong-willed person - she is a go getter. She will make sure those children’s needs are met. She is looking for a better way, after many years of challenges she is ready to move forward.”


Sharon's story is special but unfortunately not uncommon. There are many other women, children and families who need the same comprehensive supportive services Sharon received. As the year comes to an end, please consider making a gift to ensure others have the same opportunity for a new start.


In 2021 our programming housed 253 individuals, with 136 residents in our shelter and 90 clients in offsite housing programs. 62% of our 2021 residents who left Isaiah House were discharged into permanent housing situations. This year so far, Isaiah House has provided 3,760 households with nutritious and high-quality items from our food pantry.


These numbers would not be possible without the generous support of donors like you. Sharon’s bright future with her sons would not be possible either. As this year comes to a close, please join us again as we continue our mission to help Essex County’s most vulnerable residents.


In gratitude,

Zammeah Bivins-Gibson

Executive Director


*Names of children have been changed for privacy

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