A YEAR OF CHANGE
Many of us will always remember 2020 as a year that shook our lives. The worldwide disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic affected billions of people from every walk of life. For so many, 2020 was certainly a year of uncertainty, fear, and loss. For Lynne Francois Grubbs, 2020 was a year of change.
“2020 kind of began as a not-so-great chapter but then ended as a really good chapter so I’m kind thankful for that … but at the same time it was one of the hardest I’ve had to go through,” Lynne says as she reflects on the year that brought her to the doors of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP).
At the onset of 2020 Lynne was dealing with the end of a relationship and becoming homeless with her daughter almost overnight. Six months into the pandemic, Lynne worked part-time in retail for a non-SVdP company while she and her daughter stayed with family and friends. Lynne’s manager at the time informed her of SVdP and its many programs designed to help those in her current situation. Knowing she had to do something to better her position for herself and her daughter, Lynne reached out.
Using the resources at First Place Family Center and the Connections Rapid Rehousing Program, Lynne was able to find an affordable apartment for her family. Her relationship with SVdP didn’t stop there, though; through her case manager she learned of the Second Chance Renter’s Program.
“I decided to take the class to inform myself on what I could and couldn’t do to better myself,” Lynne says, adding that the program was extremely informative and helpful for her as she learned how to live independently.
In July of 2021, just a little more than a year since she’d first become homeless, Lynne found herself in a difficult work environment but still housed. With a second child now on the way, Lynne felt she could do more to improve her situation. In December of that year, she left her job and six months later she enrolled in the Supported Work Experience Program (SWEX), which she’d learned about during her time in Second Chance.
“I wasn’t working at the time,” Lynne says, “so getting my foot back in the door to get in the motion of getting out and working for a few hours, to eventually get a job, was definitely something I as interested in.”
She began volunteering through SWEX in September of 2022 and continued until graduating the program that December. After completing the program, Lynne interviewed for a job with the St. Vinnie’s retail stores —where she is now working part-time!
Asked to reflect on where she was two years ago compared to where she is today, Lynne has no shortage of great things to say about the SVdP programs that supported her.
“It’s really great, being in the tough spot that I was in and having that help and support,” she says. “Any kind of support that was offered was one of the things that I don’t take for granted.”
As Lynne continues her journey, she hopes to begin working full-time with St. Vinnie’s and is also looking into childcare through SVdP’s Preschool Promise and First Place Kids programs.
Lynne’s story is a great example of how the many programs at St. Vincent de Paul work together to help individuals in need become self-sufficient. By helping others raise the walls of stability around themselves and their families, they are better able to advance themselves and seek further personal growth.
We are SVdP and this is our community.
If you want to support programs that help people like Lynne, get back on their feet and into the workforce, consider donating: Give Back | Make a Donation | St. Vincent de Paul (svdp.us)