According to a recent report, more than 15,000 people are homeless in DuPage County. And for the past 16 years, one local not-for-profit, Families Helping Families, has helped homeless families get back on their feet.
Megan DeAngelis is one of those who received help from Families Helping Families. Megan is a mother of two, a full time service representative at
Benedictine University, and a graduate student.
From where she is today, it might be surprising to find out that just five years ago her family was left homeless. DeAngelis lost her home when her husband abandoned her and their two little boys and fled the country, after he was accused of a crime.
“I was living between my sister’s in Milwaukee and a friend here in St. Charles,” DeAngelis said. “I knew that was not the way I wanted to raise my children.”
With the help of Glen Ellyn based Bridge Communities, DeAngelis was provided temporary housing and was accepted to the Families Helping Families program.
“I have never seen anyone with a can-do attitude like Megan.” Founder Vicky Joseph said.
“I just thought, this is too good to be true,” DeAnglies exclaimed.
All clients of Families Helping Families have to be enrolled in college. They meet with mentors weekly, who help them set specific goals every three months. But the ultimate goal? Financial independence by the time they graduate. And for so many, they gain much more.
“We want to know about every aspect of their lives, so it’s like a big therapy session for them,” mentor Jill Holman said. “They have to take everything in their lives and just lay it out there on the table.”
“It was almost like a spiritual cleansing,” DeAngelis said.
Over the 16 years it has existed, Families Helping Families has worked with more than 100 clients.
“When you help a women provide for herself, you change her life and her grandchildren’s lives forever,” Joseph said.
DeAngelis is now studying to get her masters in public health, raising two happy boys and is in the process of becoming a condo owner.
“Without them, I would not be where I am today,” DeAngelis said.
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