Homelessness isn’t just for the jobless. Even after 13 years at the same job, Fretoria struggled to support her family. Lacking the skills she needed to budget her finances, she and her four children were evicted from their home last fall. Her son Kendrick, a high school junior, had dreams of going to college and becoming a pilot. Fearing that homelessness would crush his dreams, she knew she needed help to get back on her feet. Determined to keep her family together and her children focused on their futures, Fretoria turned to St. Lawrence Place.
St. Lawrence Place (SLP), operated by Trinity Housing Corporation, provides homeless families with transitional housing, support services and life skills education to help them stay together and grow stronger. Over the past three years, Women in Philanthropy (WIP) has provided $30,000 to support SLP’s program for homeless teens. Founded over 10 years ago, WIP is dedicated to revolutionizing the way women give by transforming charitable contributions into philanthropic investments in the community. Members of WIP seek to improve the lives of women and children through active leadership and collective philanthropy. In addition to awarding more than $750,000 in grants to Midlands organizations, WIP strives to educate women about the importance of philanthropy and how each person can truly make a difference.
SLP works with family members to meet their individual needs and plan for their futures. Kendrick receives counseling, volunteers on the SLP campus, and attends life skills classes for teens. Since coming to SLP, Kendrick has improved his grades and is now on the honor roll. He has become more involved, playing on his high school football team and serving as a mentor to younger children on the SLP campus. He even won a national award for his ROTC participation.
“Kendrick and his family came to SLP with open minds and were willing to listen and learn,” said Lila Anna Sauls, executive director of St. Lawrence Place. “SLP has given them the stable environment and support to accomplish their goals.”
One of Kendrick’s proudest achievements is the progress he’s made toward college. With help from SLP tutors, Kendrick took the PSAT in December and is currently studying for the ACT. “The tutoring helps prepare me for the tests,” Kendrick said. “With a higher score, I can get into a good college and start out my life on the right foot.”
Without SLP’s help, Kendrick believes his family would still be struggling financially. “Everyone reaches a point in their lives when they hit a bump,” Kendrick said. “SLP is here to help pick you back up.”
The financial literacy and career skills Kendrick is learning at SLP are not only beneficial now, but will help him throughout his life. “I know how to handle my money as a teen, and when I start a job I can use what I’ve learned to budget and save.”
Kendrick already has big plans for the future. He looks forward to going to college to pursue his dream of becoming a U.S. Air Force pilot. He knows he’ll stay on track to meet his goals, thanks to SLP. “It’s been very inspiring. I’ve learned so many life-changing things that will help me succeed on my own.”