Because I know how much you love our Launch Pad residents, I wanted to tell you about an inspiring interaction I had last week.
I touched base with Lizzie, who will earn her A.A. in Early Childhood Development in May from Orange Coast College. It’s something she says she never would have imagined for herself when she joined the Launch Pad community. Growing up, Lizzie bounced between foster care and her grandparents’ home. Betrayed by family relationships, she set out on her own, completing her last year in high school while essentially squatting at a foreclosed home and making do with handouts from friends.
“I thought this was just going to be another program, but I was wrong,” Lizzie told me about her Launch Pad experience. “The program was more than a community, they became my family. Without their encouragement, I would not have found the strength to accomplish many of the things I have.”
Lizzie’s volunteer “Flight Crew” – which has grown to include her mentor, budget coach, life group leader, school counselor, and former employer – has been committed to her success. With their support, Lizzie enrolled at OCC, taking the bus to classes as well as to her first part-time job (located in the opposite direction from home and school). She learned to drive with the help of yet another volunteer, and then saved up to buy a car. Most recently, she’s been working OCC’s on-campus child care center, doing what she loves most. The best part is that Lizzie was baptized by her life group leader a few years back.
“Due to their persistence to help and get to know me, I was able to believe that I deserve better. I also have the right to feel safe and happy,” Lizzie said. “I thought I only needed a roof over my head to feel safe, but … they showed me that in order to feel safe I had to start trusting myself again, and they gave me the strength to do so.”
We’ll certainly be celebrating Lizzie at her graduation in June, though she’s not stopping there – with a goal of a bachelor’s degree, Lizzie will start at Cal State Fullerton in August.
It’s through the continued support of each of you and your Church community that Lizzie’s life, one of many at The Launch Pad, trajectory has been changed dramatically. We are grateful for our continued partnership and look forward to future celebrations.
Continue to be the Church in Action,