Something powerful is emerging in the lives of children and families in Peoplestown. It’s an intangible quality – but you know it when you see it.
It shows up in the determination of an 8th grader who, for the first time, identifies with the personal story of a civil rights leader. It shows up in the heroic efforts of a mother going the extra mile to support her child’s success. It bubbles up as long-time community residents organize to have their voices heard.
That something is resilience. When you see it, it’s both inspiring and humbling in the same breath.
Resilience is the ability to persevere in the face of adversity, challenge, insult, or injury. It can’t be manufactured through a program - it exists in the spirit of people.
While we can’t create resilience, we can nurture it. We cultivate it when we come alongside those who have the grit and determination to change the odds for themselves, their families, or their community.
This past year, you and I have had a front row seat to the power of that spirit in action.
We’ve seen the resilience of our local elementary school in the face of significant threats. After years of steep declines in grade-level reading and math, D.H. Stanton Elementary welcomed a new principal with a stellar record of leading high-performing schools. She chose to leave her highly successful school to help D.H. Stanton students change the odds for their futures.
This is resilience in action, and we’re here to help D. H. Stanton students succeed through our educational supports - like our Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools®, Homework Relief Bootcamp, and Saturday Arts programs.
This year, Peoplestown neighbors have joined forces with residents of other stadium neighborhoods to form the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition. This coalition of concerned citizens seeks to write a new story for these historic neighborhoods - and Emmaus House stands with them. Given the history of displacement that accompanied the construction of the last two stadiums, this work is a testament to the resilience of a community.
Your investment in Emmaus House adds your voice to ours as we advocate alongside residents of Peoplestown through our work with the Coalition.
As an organization, Emmaus House has a new clarity of purpose and a renewed resolve to promote academic achievement and family economic success in Peoplestown. This year, with your support, we’ve launched a successful CDF Freedom Schools® program and focused our resources to implement a two-generation strategy to support families. These are the signs of a resilient team embracing change to move forward.
While communities and organizations can all exhibit resilience, there is nothing more powerful than the overcoming spirit of children and families. Candida and her son D.C. have been residents of Peoplestown for the past four years. In 2013, Candida had heart surgery, which left her on disability. They’ve been burglarized three times and quite literally lost everything that they owned.
Despite these odds, Candida and D.C. continue to exhibit tremendous resilience.
Thanks to your support, D.C. was a Freedom Schools® scholar at Emmaus House. He recounted some of his memories.
“I was in Miss Callie's class. One time we formed a human knot. We had to work together to get untangled. It was a lot of fun. We wrote about it afterwards - about working together. ”
Inspired by her son’s experiences, Candida signed up this fall for our brand new Homework Relief Bootcamp for Parents, offered in partnership with Literacy Action. When asked about her experience, she says:
“I think it's a great program. It's helped motivate me to listen to D.C. and read with him. I used to read with him when he was younger, but not as much in recent years. It's pulled us closer together. I've learned to be more patient when he brings homework to me.”
Candida and D.C. are resilient. They continue to persevere in the face of adversity and challenges.
D.C. learned the power of working together this past summer. In the same way, when you and I work together we can activate the resilient spirit of children and families in Peoplestown as they seek the best for themselves and their community.
Your donation will help to shape stories of resilience, strength, and triumph that will be told for months and years to come.
With warm holiday wishes,
Joseph Mole, LMSW