Residents & Alumni Stories | Project HOME

Residents & Alumni Stories

2020 is not only the calendar year but is also a reference to visual acuity-- the clarity of sharpness of vision measured at a distance of 20 feet. This new year made me pause to reflect on how I could enhance my clarity of the vision I have for my growth, and how I could support others in enhancing their own. 

I love and appreciate the fresh start, spirit of renewal, and the literal new beginning Jan 1 brings to the calendar year. I want to mindfully recognize that this transition also brings with it often a sense of pressure, performance, grief, nostalgia, and sadness. 

Genny O'Donnell

Project HOME outreach worker Genny O’Donnell got a call on a cold December day in 1999.  A man she knew from the streets, who had been chronically homeless for over ten years, was in the hospital. He had been hit by a bus and sustained serious injuries. He didn’t remember the incident, and wasn’t clear how he had gotten there. He had no family, and Christmas was coming. After the initial visit, Genny returned a couple of days before Christmas and decorated his hospital room with a Christmas tree, as well as bringing him some treats he wanted.

Summer Service Program 2018 Alumni Samantha

Every summer we offer rising 10th to 12th grade students a Summer Service Learning Experience focused on learning about issues of poverty and homelessness, building relationships with others involved in social change, getting to know persons who have experienced poverty and homelessness, and engaging in service with Project HOME and other agencies fighting poverty, hunger and homelessness in Philadelphia.

Shahida Parker Johnson speaking at the 30th Anniversary Gala

Below are remarks from Shahida Parker Johnson, a young adult resident at our Ruth Williams House at the Gene & Marlene Epstein Building, made at our 30th Anniversary Gala.

Good evening. My name is Shahida Parker Johnson and, like so many young people in Philly, I grew up in the foster care system and aged out, becoming homeless at the age of 19. Thanks to a friend, I learned about Covenant House, a shelter for homeless youth. 

Solomon Frazier speaking at the 30th Anniversary Gala

Below are remarks from Solomon Frazier, a Project HOME alumnus and current SEPTA employee.

Good evening, my name is Solomon Frazier. I am humbled and privileged to be here tonight to help Project HOME celebrate it's 30th anniversary.

I became a resident of Project HOME’s Hope Haven II in 2012. At that time, I had been in a recovery house for 9 months, trying to work on my addiction with very little support. When I learned I’d have to leave the recovery house, I started praying, “God I don’t want to go back out there. The odds are against me.”

Learn more about how Izzy was able to transform her circumstances by joining the Project HOME community and becoming an active member of the Alumni Program, Advocacy, and the Residential Advisory Board. Through hard work and support, she has been able to successfully navigate through her Project HOME journey and find stability in life.

Meet Benjamin, who came into Project HOME after hearing about our services, while on the streets battling addiction. From his days on the streets to volunteering with Advocacy, he has been able to leverage those experience and fulfill a childhood aspiration of helping others.

Meet Karen, who has worked with Project HOME for the last 7 years, in various roles serving our community.  Describing her time at Project HOME as "powerful, life-giving and a returning of her humanity'" She speaks graciously about her journey to Philadelphia and how she has grown through her experiences at Project HOME.

Eunid makes it clear that recovery is possible. A former resident and now Project HOME Alumni and Residential Service Coordinator,  she shares her testimony and sheds light on how the Project HOME community has helped her get back on her feet and off the streets.

Meet Zarah Teachy who joined the Project HOME community as a resident after meeting Sister Mary Scullion on the streets of Philadelphia years ago.  The chance meeting in the early stages of Project HOME's outreach efforts has led Zarah on a journey where she was able to achieve far more than she could ever imagine.


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