To Whom This May Concern:
Growing up in the foster care system was challenging, but even after years of being in different homes, schools and going through different social workers- it never got any easier. When I first was asked if I wanted to help volunteer at an event for foster children, I only said yes because it involved getting out of the house and being around people who were just like me, in foster care.
When I arrived, I had no idea what I was walking into. There was a bunch of beautifully decorated trees and a bunch of people with smiling faces. I then met Janalee, at that point having no clue that I had just met my inspiration and hero. Janalee hugged me, and she didn’t even know me. After she explained to me what this event was all about, I had tears and my eyes and asked myself more than once “Is this real? Does someone really care that much about children and youth that they had never met?”
Fast forwarding throughout the past few years, I was blessed to have met Janalee and the team. From paying my car insurance, to my rent, to loaning me money when nobody else would or could… they have done it all. In all honesty, I had no one to turn to and could not ask for help. I would rather struggle than tell someone I may get evicted, or have no car insurance. The reason why, is because I didn’t want to be labeled just another statistic in the foster care system. A Place Called H.O.M.E. gave me so much more than financial help, they gave me trust, respect, stability and most of all- love. All of these things I have listed are some things many foster children would say they have lacked in the foster care system.
A Place Called H.O.M.E. has helped many foster children and youth succeed in their transitions to homes, college or aging out of care. Without them, I really am not sure where I would be today. I am so lucky to have met these wonderful people and I can assure anyone who needs a little bit of help and a lot of love that they are looking in the right place when they come to A Place Called H.O.M.E.
Former Foster Child
East Hartford, CT
To Whom It May Concern:
I can’t express the appreciation I have for this wonderful program. This program has done so much for me and I can’t explain how much of a relief it’s been to be able to have this to help me out of a real bind. I’m pretty young and I’m very independent and growing up in care I learned to depend on myself and only myself and if I didn’t have something I needed to earn it all on my own. With being so independent and having come out of care I didn’t have many people to lean back on in case of emergency or to ask for help from when I needed money to fix things such as my primary vehicle. I had bought a vehicle in which I had thought I’d been getting a good deal on, and turns out something just happened to go wrong and my warrantee I thought I had didn’t cover the damage that had just happened to my transmission. For the damage to be fixed and have a new transmission put in the cost was insurmountable and nothing that I could afford, let alone figure out my travel back and forth to work where I had just started a new job that was more than an hour away from where I was living. I was so fortunate to have heard of this beautiful program in which they would help us out of binds like this, where we work hard but just don’t have the means to fix a vehicle with this much damage. It took no time at all for this caring hand to reach out to me and pick me up off the ground where I thought I wouldn’t be able to get up off of. Not only did they lift such a burden off my shoulders, but it helped me get back on the right path and they helped me see I had a friend and someone I could lean on in financial strife like other people would with their parents which happens to be what I and other youth in care are lacking at times. Not only was I able to go to this beautiful program for financial help with my vehicle and the repairs but they also helped me pay off a school debt. This school debt I owed was keeping me from moving onto other great opportunities I wouldn’t have had the option at looking for if they hadn’t helped me. I’m so thankful I had this opportunity and this program deserves this grant for all the help they duel out to so many youth who need it and the youth who don’t have the help like other people do in these times of need.
Without A Place Called H.O.M.E. I would not be where I am today!
When I was about to lose everything A Place Called H.O.M.E. helped me more than anyone in my whole life has ever been willing to do for me. Not only did they give me a loan to buy my own trailer but they are letting me make a very reasonable monthly payment to pay off my trailer so I will be a home owner and never have to worry about where my kids and I will have to move next! They have been… there for me EVERY time I’ve needed anything since the day I was lucky enough to have them in my life. Even if I just need advice or someone to talk to they are always there for me… even though they don’t have to be!! This has meant more to me than anything. The most common thing with growing up in foster care is that people are never constant and you can’t count on them being a part of your life anymore the day they don’t have to… but that is not the case with A Place Called H.O.M.E. They truly care and want to be a part of your life… not just because they have to… but because they WANT to… which is all I ever wanted in all the years I spent in state custody was someone who cared about me because they wanted to not because the state is paying them to pretend to care! This is the most amazing program and group of people I have ever had the privilege of knowing and I can’t thank them enough for all they have done for me and just being here for me!
I have had some significant help from the program in the last year. The program has helped me buy a good, reliable truck, my first bed of my own, they have also helped me with a laptop for school and helped pay a month of my rent. I have been fortunate enough to be able to get assistance from the program, I hope others do as well. Before I learned of the program I was struggling to get the things I needed but with their help I got what I needed. The program is by far the best of all of them I have been apart of and I’ve been in foster care 13 years. I hope they keep helping foster youth that are in need, it is more helpful than most people realize.
A Place Called H.O.M.E is everything the name lives up to be. It is a soft spot to fall back on when all has failed. Youth most often refer to this soft spot as a parental figure. The question that fails to be answered is, where does that leave youth who lack parents? Well, that is a question Janalee Moquin, the founder of A place called H.O.M.E decided to answer. I met her the summer of 2016, when I found myself in a tough financial situation. Being only 15 at the time, I was paying for most of my expenses with little help from the state. I had just started drivers ed and my instructor informed me if I didn’t come up with the money soon, I would not be able to get in any driving time with her. As driving students, we each had a small opportunity to get the ten hours we needed before the next class started. Which then, you were no longer a priority. I had been working hard at my first job, saving money for this very purpose, but it still wasn’t quite enough. I had spoken to a JMG advisor about this issue, who then connected me with Janalee. She had offered to charge my sister and I’s entire bill on her own personal credit card just to make sure we were able to continue our class. This was only the beginning of her involvement in my life. The same year I was accepted into Upward Bound. As a rising Junior, I would participate in a 5 week program over the summer. Once again, I had found my self without the proper resources to get to the program and back, twice a week. I reached out to Janalee and my JMG advisor. Together they came up with a solution that would eliminate two problems in my life. I needed to get to and from the Gorham USM campus, twice a week, and I also needed to accumulate driving hours in order to send out for my license. Janalee and Kara came up with a plan to get me to and from USM while racking up hours at the same time. Generously, Janalee planned to drive twice a week from her home in York to my house in Hollis. Which then she allowed me to drive to the Gorham Campus. However, I had been dealing with a lot of anxiety and discontinued the summer program after the first week. That didn’t stop Janalee from wanting to help me with my driving hours! She dedicated a lot of her time during the summer to my aid. She even helped me reconnect with an old counselor who I am still seeing to this date. When September arrived, I was over-anxious about starting school again. Which then, she explained to me the endless options of alternatives to public school. After pulling teeth with the state, I gave online schooling a try. At the time I did not have internet at my house so she allowed me to stay with her. Janalee supported me in many ways. Even when I decided I just wanted to go back to public school, she supported me. A place called H.O.M.E even supplied me with one of their Josh’s care packages, so I wouldn’t have to buy my own school supplies. I recently got my license in Feburary and I couldn’t have done it without the resources and support Janalee and her organization have provided for me. A place called H.O.M.E is crucial to foster kids and should be a national organization available for all kids in need. There wouldn’t be enough Janalee’s, but she would still make it work!