The Perfect Christmas--– Kara Skinner Family

Kara Skinner’s Family

Kara Skinner's Family

The perfect Christmas is what everyone who celebrates the holiday wants to have. The idea of the perfect Christmas varies from person to person. Some want to be home with their families and others want to travel for the holiday.

In the case of Kara Skinner, a single mother raising eight children, her idea of a perfect Christmas is one where everyone is together, knows how much they are loved, and feels fulfilled with where they’re at so they do not feel like anything is missing. 

Kara has been taking care of her niece and nephew who lost their father. She also is caring for two other children in a family that struggled with addiction. “I worry about the kids I am fostering as far as them missing out, or feeling like they’re missing out, because they are not with their siblings or with mom and dad,” she said.

Inflation, construction to their house, and taking care of eight children have made it really hard for Skinner to give her family the good Christmas that she would like. 

“Having this many kids, it’s really tight this year,” Kara said. “After I get paid, there’s very little left for extra.”

New Hope Services has been working with the family to help relieve some of the stress of having to take care of eight children. Healthy Families is a New Hope program to support parents that helps connect them with community resources.

*Abridged story & photo courtesy of News and Tribune 
 
Clarksville Mother-to-be Ready for a New Beginning

Seanna’s Story

Seanna's Story

Seanna Kidd has never had a Christmas tree. She can’t afford a traditional tree this year, especially since her son is due a few days before Christmas, but the 20-year-old won’t let that stop her.

“I was never really allowed to celebrate Christmas so I was, just like gung ho crazy for Christmas, and everything is going to have glitter all over it,” she said. 

Kidd created three triangular Christmas trees from a box her Healthy Families case manager, Amy Speedy, gave her. She wrapped the trees in glitter wrapping paper from her boyfriend and said she will use the homemade ornament stickers as decorations. 

Seanna moved to Southern Indiana a few months ago with a cousin; she’s from Denver, Colorado. “I was in a really tough situation in Denver, and it was either move here (with my cousin) or pretty much be homeless,” she said. 

Now she’s pregnant and navigating a new world. She said she was extremely sheltered as a child and didn’t even know her own age until last year. Her grandmother helped her get her birth certificate, which told her how old she was. 
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Samantha’s Story

Samantha's Story

The road to motherhood did not start out smoothly for Samantha Jones. While pregnant she was attacked in her home by a burglar with a knife, causing severe injury to her face, neck and torso.

 

Shortly after this traumatic experience, she was offered the opportunity to participate in Healthy Families. Samantha accepted, and in doing so developed a support system that walked alongside her as she healed both physically and emotionally.

Her home visits with Family Support Specialist Sandy Goen began three months before her daughter, Harmony, arrived. The program helped her transition into her new role as a mother and to create a warm, nurturing environment for her daughter.

Samantha wanted more for her daughter than she had experienced as a child, as she had been raised by a drug addicted mother.

“Samantha asks great questions,” said Sandy, “and she explores new ideas and activities with Harmony. Her excellent parenting is evident when I see her thriving, happy baby.”

Sandy helped Samantha explore personal goals. Samantha set a goal of obtaining a better education and career; Sandy provided support and resources for her; seeing the potential in Samantha, she encouraged and validated her positive choices.

Today Samantha has completed a medical assisting certificate and is working in a medical office. She is committed to her goals, working four days a week and attending class the other three. Sandy could not be more proud of her and her wonderful progress.

Samantha in turn is thankful for the support she receives. She states, “Healthy Families is a great program. I look forward to Sandy coming each week because she brings all kinds of information on my daughter’s growth and development and she has helped me reach our goals. Harmony absolutely loves her!”
Renee and Brittney

Impact Story – Renee

Impact Story - Renee

Renee and Brittney

Renee Cook lost her job in 2020 due to the restaurant she worked at shutting down the dining room. Renee worked to maintain the dining room so customers could enjoy a clean environment. Renee has been unemployed since 2020 and decided in December 2022 she was ready to re-enter the work force. Renee worked with her employment consultant Brittney Nichols to come up with an employment goal during the discovery process. Together they worked on job skills and brought out Renee’s interests and strengths. Recently while doing an onsite career assessment at Panera Bread, Renee and Brittney spoke with the manager of the restaurant. They said they would love to hire Renee for their new store that is scheduled to open in March. Renee said she is “excited to get back to it.” She said Brittney “is a keeper” and she is thankful for Brittney’s assistance in finding a new position where she can be a part of competitive community employment. 

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Paul L. Feels at Home at NHS

Paul L. Feels at Home at NHS

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Paul has been at New Hope for 28+ years and 20+ years in an apartment on his own. He realizes he is one of the most independent clients here. He is quiet and composed, with a smile that lights up his eyes.

What he enjoys most about New Hope, he says, are “all the different jobs, and staying busy. I like having a job to come to.” Paul also enjoys group activities such as classes, going to restaurants and other outings in the community. “I like learning things, like cooking, computer, and things to do in Louisville,” he says.

Twice a month a group goes to Louisville on an outing. He said they have visited places like the Frazier History Museum, art galleries, the Kentucky Science Center, and the Louisville Zoo.

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Help in Times of Crisis

Help in Times of Crisis

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To provide direction and leadership in the development of safe, affordable and suitable housing in response to public need.

At New Hope Services, we’re building homes that improve an individual’s quality of life and the health of communities overall.

New Hope Development Services, Inc. handles the entire process of a project, including market selection, site selection, design, financing, construction management, asset management, building management and leasing, and strategic planning.

Furthermore, issues with the boys’ parents led to a custody hearing. Dawn took in the boys and their mom, her daughter, and tried to make everything work.

“It just wasn’t an appropriate environment for the boys to be in,” Dawn said. “About two years ago, we had to go to court and apply for temporary custody for them to be in my care.”

She’s worked to make sure they have a better place to grow up, and has secured housing through the New Albany Housing Authority. They still need a few things to fill out the space, but she said she’s grateful to have a stable place for all of them to stay.

Through everything, Dawn said she wants stability for the holidays, for her and the boys. She said the boys cook and they enjoy a few TV shows together. Whether it’s “Empire” or “Family Feud,” they gather together as a family most days.

David said he likes to go to the library with his friends sometimes, just to hang out or use the internet. Dawn said Jason likes to play basketball or hang out with his friends outside, or sometimes go over and play video games.

But they also like to get creative. David said he likes to write poetry, which sometimes turns into rap. Jason said he’s better at it than his brother. When he writes, Jason said he wants to express what he’s been through. “I want people to know my struggle,” Jason said.

But he’s got his eyes on the future. The middle-schooler said he wants to be a musical artist, involved in culinary arts or something else.

Dawn said she’s proud of her grandsons and glad she’s taken them on by herself. She said part of that comes from her own grandmother rubbing off on her.

“I guess it would go back to my past, with my dad getting a divorce from my mom and her leaving the five of us on his doorstop,” Dawn said. “He turned to his mom, who helped him out. She didn’t raise us, but she helped raise us while he worked as a truck driver, and she instilled that in me.”