FAMILY PROMISE OF GREATER SAVANNAH: MINI-STORY JANICE HARRIS-PARKER
“Peace of mind is a beautiful thing” was the reason Janice Harris felt she had to take her three children and leave her husband the day before Thanksgiving 2012. “Nowhere to go” and “so tired,” the family stayed with friends for a few days before Janice was able to take a day off from work to look for a place to live. Exhausted and discouraged, someone recommended Family Promise of Greater Savannah. In early December, they were accepted into the emergency shelter program where, after an initial needs-based assessment, they were guests in several churches until the end of January.
“It’s a great program,” Janice said. “Sometimes I’d get frustrated at my situation, but there was always someone there to remind me that was normal. Relax, they’d say, no one is here to judge you.”
Janice said she was lucky that she already had a job and car. She spent weekends at the Family Promise Center where, through the agency’s Homeless Assistance and Prevention Program, she found a decent and safe place to live. “Everyone was so friendly and helpful. After a short survey to see what we needed, they helped with the deposit on an apartment that put us in a temporary unit until our apartment was available.”
Family Promise’s SHIPP Program proved to be an additional, invaluable resource for Janice. “The after-program helped me restructure my resume and learn to better budget my money. The counselors give you things to take with you, so you can move forward and won’t fall back into the same situation.”
Today, Janice reports that she and her family are doing great and she “couldn’t be happier!” After 2 ½ years in the apartment, the family moved into a house. Her youngest child is a junior at The School of Liberal Studies at Savannah High School, taking rigorous AP and dual-enrollment college classes.
One of the churches where Janice and her children were guests was St. Phillips Monumental AME Church, who host families twice a year and where she says they were treated like family. Since 2013, Janice has faithfully returned to St. Phillip’s to volunteer with Family Promise, helping others who, as she once did, suddenly find themselves in desperate need of assistance and hope. With deep gratitude she says, “The least I can do is give back.”