Not too many people know this, but, I lived in Women In Distress (WID) the first three months of my life as a Broward county resident… and it was literally one of the best times of my life. My story with WID began when I had no where to go after a promise shelter for my children and myself was denied at the last minute. So, with only the clothing on our backs and a few dollars, I drove to the nearest police station to park my car to sleep (I felt it would be the safest place in an unknown area). It was a few minutes later when an Officer tapped on the window and inquired about my status. I explained my situation and he escorted my kids and I into the police station.
While there, I spoke to another Officer who mentioned there was an organization that may be able to house us. A phone call was made and I spoke to Rachel. After a series of questions, I was given instructions with directions to what would be my home for three months. Once I arrived, I was questioned more while my kids slept on a made up bed on the floor. I spoke with Rachel about many things while we awaited dawn to come. She was very encouraging and level set me as to what will be expected from me while residing at the facility. My family was very fortunate because there were no available rooms until a young lady and her kids would be discharged from the facility.
As morning arrived, we were escorted to our apartment which would be shared with another young lady and her two kids. My kids and I got settled down and began our first day living in a shelter. My kids were taken to the day care on the premises and would speak with the Counselor for the kids and I would be taken to meet with the other residents and participate in group sessions.Here I would bond with a few ladies and my kids with other children but most of all we bonded with each other even deeper.
Since there was not TV, we spent a lot of time together. I would read to them; we always played some type of game; they would tell me how their day went in school and the daycare. They truly loved their daycare moments at Jack & Jill. This is where I met Fran Payne. She was the Executive Director of the day care and a wonderful person. We spoke ever so often and whenever we did it was always inspiring! We shared the same believe…”children are our future” You could see her passion for the kids and WID. Fran passed away last year November at the age of 82 just a month after her husband Darwin for over 61 years passed away that same year.
You can read more about Fran Payne HERE
Well, this past Friday, I had to take a day off to deal with some thing personal in the Fort Lauderdale area. Now-a-days, I rarely get to go back to the community where I began my new journey in life. So, I decided to pass by Jack & Jill to say “HI” and see what was new with the facility. After a brief intro of myself, I got meet some of the “newer” staff members and to my surprise, I found out Ms. Mary Carter was still working at the facility. She was my youngest son’s teacher when he attended back in 1994 and she remembered him too!
I also, inquired about the activity in the playground with all the volunteers. Come to find out that they were assisting with the remodeling of the playground in honor of the beloved Fran Payne. The daycare was paying homage to her that afternoon. Permitted to go ‘snoop’ about, I got a moment to witness people doing what I love to do best…creating a difference in our communities…
With this said, I want to take this moment and “THANK” Jack & Jill for being there for my kids and making affordable daycare for me during my transition in my first year in Broward county. Also, for those volunteers who were out there giving the playground a new look, “THANK YOU”!
For those who are looking to donate your time, money, or non-perishable items Women In Distress or Jack & Jill, please click on the links below to find out more information.