Sometimes people need a helping hand to take that first step on the road to changing their future.
This year, Christian Community Service Center (CCSC) celebrates 20 years of reaching out and clasping hands with men and women looking to change the trajectory of their families' finances by enrolling in its Martha's Way vocational housekeeping program and starting their own businesses.
"These last two years have been spectacular!" said Martha's Way 2021 graduate Fabiola S. "I am infinitely grateful to God, to the (Martha's Way) program, and to the person who invited me to the program because today I can tell you that I am financially much better off than I was two years ago. Thank God I have a cleaning company."
The Martha's Way entrepreneurial training was developed in 2003 after CCSC's Founding Committee determined that a vocational housekeeping program focusing on technical and business skills would fit the needs of CCSC's client base.
"We listened to the stories of people coming to CCSC looking for help and it was always that they wanted help with emergency food, but they also wanted help with jobs," said Pat Cloutier, a member of the Martha's Way Founding Committee.
"Martha’s Way has been a transformative program, helping men and women to increase their household incomes, become financially self-sufficient, and achieve their dreams," said CCSC President & CEO Michelle Shonbeck. "I am in awe of those who come through and persevere, despite facing tough challenges many of us will not have to tackle."
Martha's Way participants report their relief that their children will not have to tackle the same tough financial challenges that they did.
"There was something that really impacted me," graduate Veronica R. said. "It was something (Martha's Way Manager) Ms. Ana said to us, the phrase 'breaking the chains of poverty.' She explained that we carry these chains, and if we keep doing the same things that we are doing we will keep carrying them, and our kids will do the same. I wanted to cut those chains."
Today, Veronica is a business owner, a homeowner, and her son is in college studying engineering.
Martha's Way has graduated over 2,200 trained housekeepers and continues to change lives and break the cycle of poverty for low-income Houstonians.
"Giving people independence is one of the greatest gifts you can give anybody," Cloutier said. "There is great dignity in work." To support the work of the Martha's Way program by hiring a Martha's Way-trained housekeeper, please visit Hire a Housekeeper | Christian Community Service Center (ccschouston.org). To donate to CCSC, please visit our secure site at Christian Community Service Center - Acceptiva.