Jumping from hotel rooms to friends’ couches, Amber Flores and her two children were living without hope or purpose. Amber was at her wit’s end – then she found Buckner Family Pathways in Amarillo, Texas, a place that took them away from the lost life they were currently living and gave her the freedom to chase her dreams.
“I had always wanted to be a nurse, and I had wanted to get this weight-loss surgery, but when we were hopping from hotel room to hotel room, I started to consider dropping out of school and cancelling my surgery. I just couldn’t see another way out,” Amber shared.
She had heard of the Family Pathways program before and decided they had nothing left to lose. The call to Family Pathways changed the trajectory of Amber’s life – a life of instability to consistency.
“I’ve lost 115 pounds, and I look at old pictures of me and you can tell, I just had no purpose," Amber said. "I had no joy. I think about how down I was, how unmotivated and I’m just completely different.”
This move to Family Pathways was a big change for all of them, but because of the positive support they received, she and her children began to evolve, mentally, physically and spiritually.
“I just want my kids to dream, and we talk about God so much," Amber said. "We’re so involved and attend church regularly. I didn’t grow up in church, but while being at Buckner, I got baptized. I help greet, volunteer and get to know new people at our church.”
Faith has become a large building block in the Flores’ home – even to the point that Amber’s daughter will remind them of something they said they would pray about and haven’t yet.
“I always say I want the roof of my success to be their foundation," Amber said. "I hope instilling this faith in them sparks something in their life down the road – it’s something they can count on and go back to.”
Through counseling at Family Pathways and continuing in her education, she has found who she always believed she was meant to become.
“I’m like a whole new person," Amber said. "I dream bigger. Back then, I was really timid, and I tried to be so small – which is hard considering I’m six foot. But I just wanted to stay out of the way.”
But now, Amber feels more herself than ever. As a key member of the resident council, Amber has participated in many different roles – spiritual development, events, their brag board and as president. Family Pathways quickly became home and where she felt safe.
“Buckner is my family so I will defend this place forever," Amber said. "Buckner has taught me who I am – and they’ve encouraged me to keep growing.”
Amber will graduate with her nursing degree this spring, and while there is trepidation about this new season, Amber knows Buckner has prepared her well.
Her dreams grow each day – and now with graduation around the corner, she has confidence she can do anything she puts her mind to, such as continue to follow the path to becoming a nurse practitioner. For her children, this journey has taught them the power of sacrifice too. Amber sees she wasn’t the only one walking this path and, with tears, is proud to say she has taught her children the importance of finding and chasing after their purpose and passion.
“There’s still a lot of me that needs healing, but I think that will be always," Amber said. "But the changes I’ve made in just the few years I’ve been here … I’m so different. I feel whole. I sit here and am so confident. Thanks to Buckner.”