What does it take to change the life of a single mom? Heart, help and hope

When Denise Macon first called Buckner Family Pathways in Amarillo, she was days away from becoming homeless. Now she and her two children have a safe place to live. She and her son are enrolled in Amarillo College, and she’s working through an accelerated nursing degree. She’s set to graduate next year. 

Here’s how Family Pathways turned her life around with a …

Home. Denise was on the verge of being evicted and faced an immediate need – a roof for her family. Because her son is a teenager, many places were going to split the family between men and women’s sides. Buckner protected her family and kept them together.

“When [Buckner Family Pathways in Amarillo Director Susana Guevara] showed me the apartment, the first thing out of my mouth was, ‘Whoa, this is really nice,’” she said. “I didn’t expect this.”

From there, the Macons could build from a firm foundation with …

Help.  Before coming to Family Pathways, Denise had a simple prayer: “I used to pray God I just want one good friend,” Denise said. “Not anyone to use me. I was enabler. I would give to make them happy. But I honestly never could call anyone my friend. That’s all I wanted.”

God answered her prayer the first day in the program when she met Elizabeth while taking out the trash. She would become Denise’s best friend in a tight-knit community.

Buckner offered Denise counseling, encouragement and accountability. Residents are open with what they’re going through and leaders are willing to ask residents tough questions. As a result, Denise’s life is changing. She better understands herself and is steadily growing as a person.

“We are family,” Denise said. “We are ladies who when we first moved here, we didn’t know anyone else. We are trying to figure out who we are. All of us are out here for a reason. Susana is the mom. She brings everything together. At our meetings, she talks about community. That’s who we are. That’s what we’re supposed to be.”

Now she has …

Hope. Denise has always been optimistic. Now that she’s working her way through college, she has practical reasons for that optimism. Her son was the first person to encourage her to enroll. He was also the first person to greet her in class at Amarillo College. Her daughter is thriving as she is surrounded by friends at Family Pathways.

Denise talks excitedly about her family’s future. Her son will graduate in the spring of 2017. She’ll graduate the following fall. They’re both looking at enrolling at the University of Texas, where Denise can work on her master’s degree in public health and prepare for a future of fighting diseases.

She’s already shown she’ll fight for her family. Diseases don’t stand a chance. 

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