The vast majority of them have arrived at the end of their respective ropes. Done with systems, with heartbreak, with loss, with not being able to make ends meet no matter how hard they try. They come often having been hurt both physically and otherwise, sometimes having made any number of bad decisions but wanting so much for things to be different. They come looking for someone to say, “I’m here. I can help. And you can trust me.”
The word orientation has to do with finding one’s way—and the men and women who show up for Family Scholar House orientations are definitely looking for a way—a way out, a way up, a way forward, a way past all that has gone wrong and into a new way of living life. It isn’t easy to commit to what FSH has to offer, but it does work, and you can see it in the eyes of the ones who realize that, “This is different. This makes sense. These people might actually care and want me to succeed.”
They come with different stories, different backgrounds, different experiences, more of them than you’d imagine stuck in a cycle not of their own creation—you can’t stereotype anyone or assume anything. If you do, you’ll soon find yourself humbled. And rightfully so. This is why it matters that their voices are heard, that their commitment and determination and strength are lifted up as the bright spots of hope that they are.
Today two women met at an orientation: different skin color, different generations, different reasons for how they’d ended up making a phone call to FSH, but a shared dream of not having to be afraid and hopeless anymore, a shared interest in creating a future for their children, a shared knowledge of what it means to have the bottom fall out and then begin fighting your way back.
Today was their mutual first step, and as they left, they exchanged, “Maybe I’ll see you again soon.” “Yes, maybe so. I hope so.”