by Jewel Photopulos (Safe Families Tampa Chapter Director)
Our first conversation with Mr. Hunt was heartbreaking. He wept as he explained his situation. He was jobless, homeless, and alone while trying to raise his two children on his own. His mother, who had been helping, had recently passed. His life circumstances landed him in a place that was not good for himself or for his children. Mr. Hunt was desperate. He had no idea what to do next, however he knew that he wanted and needed to be a better father to his children. Thankfully, Mr. Hunt called Safe Families for Children.
Safe Families for Children immediately surrounded Mr. Hunt and his children with a Circle of Support. The encouragement he received motivated him to find employment, buy a car, and rent a place to live. The relationships he developed with our volunteers were life changing. He had a Family Coach that encouraged him and helped him navigate through things like getting before and aftercare in place for his children at school and how to juggle evening supper and homework. He had Family Friends with whom he attended church with and included him in men’s warrior events. Mr. Hunt even decided to give his life to Christ and got baptized. Another Family Friend opened their home on Sundays for him to do his laundry, and other Family Friends helped provide day hostings when school was out, and he had to work. One of his Host Families even opened their home to him while they were out of town for a week while he transitioned during a move. With financial support from Resource Friends along with a partner church, he was able to purchase a mobile home. His family is on a completely different path.
Mr. Hunt recently shared with our Safe Families Tampa team, “Safe Families for Children gave me hope. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Now my life looks completely different. This is the first time I’ve ever had anyone care about me and act like I was a real person. It feels so good to have someone to call to check on me or someone to tell me that I’m doing a good job. I wouldn’t know how to be a dad or even have my kids with me if it wasn’t for Safe Families.”
The relationship between Mr. Hunt, his children and the Safe Families Tampa volunteers will last
a lifetime. Bearing witness to his personal growth through the support of Safe Families for
Children has been a blessing for every volunteer connected to him.