Throughout the month of October, we have been highlighting some of our superheroes – families who protect children and are strengthening their families by working hard toward their goals of self-sustainability.
At Buckner, these superheroes look like caring foster parents who provide and safe and nurturing home for foster children. They look like single mothers at Buckner Family Pathways who are faithfully studying toward a career path so they can provide for their children and improve their way of life. They look like parents taking financial and parenting classes at the Buckner Family Hope Center so they can strengthen their family.
They may not wear a cape while going about their everyday lives, but each and every day, these superheroes prove they are strong.
Meet three of our superhero families.
LaSherrell and Shailey: A dynamic duo
LaSherrell Hayes and her 4-year-old daughter, Shailey, live at Buckner Family Pathways. There LaSherrell receives affordable housing, child care assistance along with other parenting and life training skills to help her along her goals of higher education and stabilization for her family.
LaSherrell is excelling in her studies and is working toward a degree in disciplinary studies. For LaSherrell the best thing about Family Pathways is the support. A Buckner family coach walks alongside her throughout her journey, offering training, skills and encouraging words when needed.
"Family Pathways has been my saving grace," LaSherrell said. "There are rules and regulations, but the support of love is so unconditional. They encourage you to keep going, but they understand that life happens. It's amazing."
The Bells: A truly incredible foster family
Samantha and Carlos Bell have been foster parents to 7-year-old Kyle* for the last year. The Bells were unable to have biological children, but always wanted to be parents. They were drawn to foster care because it allowed them to be parents to a child who desperately needed a stable and loving home.
"We have found that foster care really is ministry in action," Carlos said.
For Samantha and Carlos, seeing their foster child excel and improve is their favorite thing. Though Kyle needed extra tutoring when he first came to the Bell home, he is now excelling in his studies and is on the honor roll.
"Foster care is definitely an adventure," Samantha said. "But it's one you look forward to."
*Name has been changed to protect identity.
Ramika and Ephraim: A super strong family
Ramika Thompson-Ford and her 8-year-old son, Ephraim, started coming to the Buckner Family Hope Center three years ago. Ramika's husband had just passed away and she was unemployed. She was attempting to go back to school, but her grief was overwhelming.
At the Family Hope Center, Ramika was able to work with a family coach who counseled, encouraged and empowered her to achieve her dreams. Ultimately, Ramika's family coach gave her the tools to keep going and brought her smile back.
"It's right there in the name," Ramika said. "Hope. The Family Hope Center brought me back to that place where I can have hope."
Today, Ramika has conquered school and is a registered respiratory nurse. She and her son not only have hope, but they are stable and stronger than ever.