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Media contact: Paul Neville, 541-743-7121


First Place mom “inspired to pay it forward”

Categories: Email Newsletter, Homeless Aid, First Place Family Center
Author: Judy and Paula
Date: Wednesday, February 22 2012
Morgan and Chris, First Place kids waiting patiently for housing.

The smiling kids on this year’s First Place Valentines have more than big hearts in common. They are musicians and artists, and are awaiting the birth of a sibling. They are counting down the days until they and their mother, Renee, can move into an apartment.

It will be their first real home since last summer when they fled domestic violence in another state. Their first stop was Salem where Renee had been promised work. After that fell through they continued to Eugene and found the Eugene Mission.

“For a long time I felt alone,” said Renee, a singer and musician. But her faith was as strong as her determination to do right by Morgan, 10, Christopher, 8, and her unborn child. Her continued search brought her to St. Vincent de Paul’s First Place Family Center where she found not only the basics of day-to-day survival but the values she teaches to her own kids: Sincere effort, patience and quiet confidence that God will provide.

Each year approximately 500 families like Renee’s find their way to First Place, bringing with them nearly 1,000 children.

Renee and her kids got into Night Shelter in December and experienced the wealth of holiday blessings bestowed by a caring community. With the New Year came renewed vigor, personal goal setting, and faith in humanity restored.

3 smiling people
Renee with Diana and William Wise of the First Place Family Center staff.

“First Place has shown us that God can and does use people,” Renee said. “We are His hands. First Place has inspired me to pay it forward.”

After her baby arrives she hopes to return to school, possibly to study respiratory therapy. She plans to resume her personal ministry of gospel music and would love to finish an album that’s been in the works for a while.

In the meantime, Renee and her kids exercise patience and the perseverance that brought them across the country to First Place Family Center.

“I have done the me-inspired thing,” Renee said. “Now I’m waiting on God. God is the key to making everything work in harmony.”