Fort Collins resident Dedria Johnson, mother of six and grandmother of two children, became unexpectedly homeless in 2015. As a newly single mother with no formal work experience outside of raising a large family for 25 years, Dedria applied to FFH’s overnight shelter in June 2015. Her family’s 36 days on our waitlist were marked by nights sleeping in their minivan or couch-surfing, and days focusing on food and survival strategies.
Over the course of 97 days as residents in FFH’s program, Dedria worked tenaciously to stabilize her family, become employed, and save money. On Nov. 4, 2015, Dedria and her family were able to live independently again. They moved into their own mid-town home with adjoining office in January 2016.
Over the past 7 months, Dedria has built two fledgling businesses – a salon and a cleaning company! She already has several employees, including two former FFH guest parents.
Her children are thriving. Her home includes a beautiful back yard with full playground set and a chicken coop! Fresh eggs, anyone? “I feel like we’re all getting to know each other again as a family after all the chaos we lived through.” Dedria’s family now gives back as volunteers for FFH, providing inspirational support to guest families and cooking meals. Two of her older sons also serve as overnight hosts.
Dedria speaks with deep gratitude for the stabilizing work of FFH staff and its multitude of thoughtful and empathetic volunteers who helped her believe in herself. A memory she particularly values is that of being given the time, space, and instruction at night to think through and write personal goals. She feels that 85% of what she set out to do while an FFH resident have been accomplished, and has multiple other goals to continue to propel her forward.
“I feel like I’m finally LIVING — and I know GRACE.”
(For photographic version of this story, please click here)
Please Donate Now! and help current FFH families such as Dedria’s to achieve sustainable self-sufficiency! – FFH Summer 2016 Virtual Fundraising Event