We’ve just begun celebrating the 30th Anniversary of our Butte Community Action Agency Esplanade House this month and we are excited to share what makes this program so special to our residents, staff, and the Chico Community.
As you can imagine, we’ve collected quite a few stories of hope, resiliency, and inspiration from the people who come through our program. Partially in their own words, here are some of our past successes of families being reunited, gaining financial independence, and freedom from addiction.
Together We Can
Shannon and Charles had been struggling with addiction, but when their three children were detained by Children’s Services, they decided it was time to change. They entered a drug rehab facility and after graduating, transitioned to our Esplanade House.
“In the beginning it was just to get my kids back, but it ended up changing the entire direction of our lives. I ended up taking every group and class that was offered, some of them twice,” Shannon says.
Our mission at the Butte CAA is to provide hope to people struggling with poverty to help them become more self-sustaining. So, at our Esplanade House we offer classes on substance abuse education, parenting, budgeting, nutrition, GED, employment readiness and daily living skills
These classes helped Shannon and Charles begin the work of rebuilding their lives, starting with getting their children back. Free from addiction, their choices became clear and intentional. Charles began working full-time as a tile-setter and Shannon served on the Community Council around the same time. Shannon also did the work to get her prior felony expunged and got a job with the Chico School District.
From that point they improved on their finances using the knowledge they acquired in our Financial Literacy class. Their credit score needed improvement and because of it they weren’t able to secure housing. Our Esplanade House supported them, allowing them be residents longer than what is typical. They improved their credit score and savings and found a relator. When they moved out, they were able to call themselves homeowners!
These two are an excellent example of how one choice can change the trajectory of your life for the better and how you can even after addiction and mistakes, you can still experience redemption and a good life.
The Gift of Sobriety
Olivia is another story of turning one’s life around to gain custody of their children and build a career.
“I had never felt so worried in all my life; standing before the judge feeling that I had done all I could to get my daughter back. I had been sober for 9 months, gone to parenting classes and kept up with meetings. That day the judge noticed my achievements, but added, “Just one piece yet to do; you must obtain proper housing.”
In my heart I had known that this was coming. I was working hard to find a good place to be a home to my baby girl and myself. Seventeen days after she was detained, I put an application in at the Esplanade House, and had been calling them faithfully. I received their call just two days after my court hearing and my daughter and I moved in within a week. I was amazed at the immediate support I was given, it was as if hands were under me to lift me up. My new neighbors helped me move what few things I could call mine into my new apartment. I began to meet with my case manager, who assessed my needs in all areas of life.
Before I knew it, I had plenty of food, better beds with nice linens, and a nice set of dishes. Everyone kept saying, “These are the gifts of sobriety.” Wow, this still brings tears to my eyes. The next week, with a schedule in my hand, I was introduced to my new drug and alcohol counselors, started a budgeting class, a parenting class, daily living skills class, and even stress reduction! With all the information I was learning, and the resourceful help of my case manager, I began to “plan my work, and work my plan” as they say at Esplanade House. Looking back, I cannot believe all the wonderful things that living at the Esplanade House has helped me accomplish. I have learned positive parenting skills, healthy eating, and how to do “self-care.”
Christmas as a Family
This single father (who chose to remain anonymous) was 6 months sober and working to get his children from Children Services Division. However, he knew that wouldn’t happen without securing housing. He was without a home until being accepted to our Esplanade House.
“I was able to get housing, get my children, and fix my credit score, all at once. I am a single father, and am very grateful to the Esplanade House for helping families get back together. With their help, we will be celebrating Christmas as a family again.”
Learning how to Love Yourself
Thanksgiving meant a lot for one of our residents who’s a single mom. It was the first holiday she felt truly happy and like she could really celebrate. At 34 years old, she felt like her life was finally becoming something good.
“I am a new me for myself, my child, and my future husband. I am becoming somebody that I am proud of and I have you, the staff at the Esplanade House to thank for that…I love myself now and you have made that possible for me.”
These are only some of the stories we have to share as we celebrate the new lives that are achieved through our Esplanade House. Over the next three months, we look forward to showcasing not only our residents, but also volunteers and staff that have impacted or been impacted by this program.
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