Tara Dawson – Adult Participant Success

Tara’s journey with our program began in August of 2023 when she courageously fled domestic violence, seeking safety and a fresh start for herself and her daughter. Despite the challenges they faced upon arrival, including the loss of their housing due to garnished wages, the duo embraced their new beginning with unwavering courage.

Striving to provide, Tara dove headfirst into full-time work at the VA hospital, where she excels in her role as a housekeeper. Meanwhile, her daughter balances part-time work with her studies as a dedicated junior in high school, immersing herself in dance and cheerleading activities.

Throughout their journey, Tara’s infectious sense of humor, care for presenting herself well, and steadfast trust in God have been a source of inspiration. Despite facing multiple losses of loved ones in recent months, Tara remains steadfast, relying on her faith to guide her through life’s challenges.

Through hard work and tenacity, Tara has made significant strides in paying off her barrier debt.

As Tara and her daughter continue on their journey, we stand alongside them, offering our encouragement and support. Together, we celebrate their determination to build a brighter future.

Ranesha – Adult Participant Success

Before coming to HPC, Ranesha was challenged by an unsupportive and toxic living situation with a family member. Determined to create a better environment for herself and her children, she made the courageous decision to leave, leading them to spend several months in a hotel. Since then, Ranesha’s life has been marked by numerous moments of celebration and growth.

While in the program, her daughter J. achieved the significant milestone of high school graduation, while her daughter B. showcased athletic prowess in track, qualifying for the semi-finals in the 200, 400, and 800-meter races. The joy in Ranesha’s life extends to her youngest daughter, A., adding an adorable touch to the family. In addition, Ranesha also enjoys the arrival of her first grandchild, J.’s baby girl, who was born in October.

Professionally, Ranesha embraced a role as an independent contractor for Amazon delivery. Simultaneously, she began to pursue her passion for caregiving by enrolling in CNA classes through the Kansas workforce office, aiming for a career in a nursing facility. Expressing a genuine love for taking care of others, Ranesha envisions a fulfilling path in her new ambition.

Ranesha’s time with HPC empowered her to pay off debt and build a comfortable savings account.

In her own words, Ranesha shares, “I just want to say I’m thankful for this program and it’s a blessing. I’m grateful for being here and getting some help and some assistance. Thank you. I want to thank everybody.”

From Eviction to Empowerment: Keona & Family

Keona found herself facing an unexpected turn of events when she resigned from her job at an apartment complex. Rather than receiving the customary two weeks to close out her responsibilities, she was fired and received a notice of eviction due to her lack of employment. During their time of uncertainty, Hillcrest stepped in to provide refuge for this family of five.

Keona, passionate about dance and singing, spent her free time contributing her talents to her church. Meanwhile, Travis, driven by the desire for his family to have a better future, secured improved employment opportunities.

The family’s journey within the program was marked by significant milestones, including the payment of thousands of dollars in debt and the accumulation of a comfortable savings account. Following graduation, the family moved into a home of their own. 

At graduation, Travis expressed his gratitude, saying, “We’d like to thank Hillcrest for everything you’ve done for us. You helped us take care of debt and move forward, and we appreciate it.” Keona echoes this sentiment, acknowledging the kindness and love they found at Hillcrest, a stark contrast to the challenges they faced before.

In her heartfelt words, Keona reflected on the transformative experience, saying, “Thank you so much for this experience because it helped us to heal through what we have been through and helped us to grow.”

Years of Homelessness to Success – Ivan’s Journey

Ivan’s journey with HPC housing began on April 21st of this year, carrying just a half-filled backpack. At first, he sought simple necessities like clothes and shoes, having been homeless for three years, resorting to couch surfing and hotel stays. Despite the initial defeatist attitude, Ivan’s transformation began through earnest conversations with his case manager. Confronting overwhelming issues, he discovered that many were manageable, and, with newfound confidence, he no longer feared facing challenges head-on.

Life skills sessions on Tuesday evenings became a pivotal part of Ivan’s progress. Interacting with others in similar situations, he found happiness within himself, realizing that external factors couldn’t bring joy. Grateful for the program, Ivan emphasized the importance of sticking to a budget and regaining personal happiness, highlighting how life can lose its luster when one loses oneself. Through perseverance and commitment, Ivan not only paid off debt but also increased his credit score. With a plan in place, he is set to move into his own apartment on December 1st.

Ivan’s case manager played a crucial role in guiding him and despite Ivan’s initial difficulties due to three years without responsibilities, the metaphorical “derailed train” of his life is back on track. Ivan also benefitted from the HPC Counseling Center and his story is now a testament to the transformative power of resilience, support, and a renewed sense of self-contentment.

Young Adult Success – Building Connections, and Embracing Growth at Hillcrest Platte County

Before Talin’s arrival at Hillcrest, life had taken a challenging turn. He and a friend had lost their apartment due to management changes, leaving them homeless and struggling to make ends meet. Many nights were spent sleeping outdoors, and occasionally, they found shelter in the back room of the fast-food restaurant where they were employed. Both Talin and his friend joined our program, seeking a fresh start.

While adjusting to the program’s financial restrictions on spending was tough, Talin’s determination to improve his circumstances was unwavering. As he began saving money, you could see the gleam in his eyes as his bank account grew. He’d often say, “I’ve never had this much money in my life.” Talin quickly embraced the principles and guidelines set by HPC and was eager to make them work. Maintaining a strict budget became second nature, thanks to his dedication and the support of his case manager.

Talin also made excellent use of the resources available at Hillcrest. He found invaluable support in the counseling center, which played a pivotal role in his journey. In December 2022, he began to work at the Hillcrest Thrift Store and utilize our Hillcrest driver to meet his needs.

Beyond financial stability, Talin possesses a remarkable talent for forging deep, genuine connections with people. His warm personality and affable nature make him an instant friend to those he meets. He even hosted a life skills session for our young adults, showcasing his culinary talents by preparing a meal for everyone.

Talin’s ambitions extend beyond his time at HPC. He’s determined to obtain his driver’s license and continues to embrace opportunities to grow and give back. Talin has also mended a long-lost connection with his birth family. This was a vital and heartwarming part of his time spent at Hillcrest, bringing closure and renewal.

With his natural leadership skills, selfless volunteering, and passion for helping others, Talin has truly shone.

In his own words, “I’ve come a really long way through this program, and I really appreciate every single one of you who has been here with me. It has been a long year but it has been a good year. I’ve enjoyed helping, I’ve enjoyed working at Hillcrest, and I plan to continue helping where I can. I don’t plan on not visiting, I plan on swinging by, some might say being a case manager at one point, but that’s way down the road. It’s been an adventure, and it’s been a fun one, and I’m grateful for absolutely everyone who has been here to help support.”

We look forward to witnessing the incredible future he is creating.

Rebecca’s Story – “I gained my strength back here.”

Before coming to HPC, Rebecca endured a series of traumatic experiences, leaving her with deep emotional scars from an abusive marriage and a toxic relationship. 

As time passed within the Hillcrest program, an amazing transformation began to unfold. Rebecca, once weighed down by her past, started to discover a newfound independence and inner strength that she had never known before. She found her voice, a powerful one that could stand up to anyone attempting to dictate her life. Even though some people resisted this “new Rebecca,” her case manager Lisa reminded her, “The people who matter don’t mind, and the people who mind don’t matter.”

Since entering the program, Rebecca tackled three years’ worth of taxes, both personal property and federal, and caught the attention of a doctor who recognized her potential and offered her a job. Moreover, Rebecca managed to pay off over $5,400 in debt.

Rebecca acknowledges that she has become the embodiment of the saying “Be the change.” She has not only changed but has also reclaimed her life. In recent discussions with her case manager, Rebecca shared her dream of having her own place and welcoming a furry companion into her life—a cat.

In heartfelt words, Rebecca expresses her gratitude to the Hillcrest team: “I want to thank everybody here at Hillcrest for giving me my life back. I learned to stay away from the toxic people that I was hanging around with, and the men that used me. My heart was used, but I gained my strength back here.”

It’s clear that her appreciation for Merry, her counselor, is profound: “Merry, especially Merry, I love you. My life has changed, and I want to thank you for everything you did for me.”

As Rebecca moves forward, pursuing her dream of finding an apartment and welcoming her feline friend, she holds her head high. She knows she’s not giving up because she’s found herself again, and she’s determined to embrace the new life she’s created. 

Young Adult Dreams to Reality: Jessica’s Tenacity at Hillcrest

When Jessica first entered Hillcrest as a high school senior, her bank account hardly reflected her dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. Due to unfortunate circumstances, she wound up in the program and undeterred, she was able to triple her savings through determination and the guidance of her case manager.

Exemplifying excellence in her classes, she earned over 10 college credit hours while still in high school. Thanks to the support of Hillcrest, Jessica was able to balance her studies with her work and will be entering college with a head start, as a sophomore at the prestigious MU. A further testament to her tenacity, she has secured a full-ride by applying for numerous scholarships.

In addition, Jessica worked two jobs while at Hillcrest and then opted for one job to make time to earn her real estate license before heading to college. Amidst her busy schedule, she also found a virtual job that will allow her to work part-time or full-time online while pursuing her studies at MU. Her drive to acquire new skills is evident and she has aspirations to establish her own businesses in hair, nails, real estate, and more. Jessica’s journey has been about embracing education and exploring opportunities.

Not only did Jessica excel academically and professionally while in the program, but she also showcased her extraordinary talent as a singer. Jessica is a member of Next Generation KC (a musician group) and performed for the People’s Choice Awards at the Midland.

Now, as Jessica prepares to embark on the next chapter of her life, she attributes her success to the unwavering support of her loved ones and mentors, as well as her unyielding faith in God. Her message to others resonates with an unwavering belief in chasing dreams, regardless of age or circumstances. Through hardships and challenges, she urges everyone to keep pushing forward and putting in the hard work, for it is through perseverance that we realize our true potential.

There is no doubt that Jessica will continue to shine brightly, inspiring others to reach for the stars, one step at a time.

Nina’s Resilience: Overcoming the Weight of the Past

Burdened by past mistakes and the weight of personal loss, Nina arrived at Hillcrest seeking guidance and a fresh start. From the moment she stepped into the program, her dedication and focus were evident. As a quiet yet remarkable individual, Nina embraced the opportunities provided, propelling herself toward a brighter future.

Within a relatively short timeframe, Nina demonstrated her discipline and commitment by paying off over $2,000 in debt. Furthermore, her steadfast efforts enabled her to save almost $3,000. These financial milestones are a testament to Nina’s hard work and the support provided by the program.

Beyond her financial accomplishments, Nina’s personal growth and transformation shine through her interactions with others. Her confidence has blossomed and she maintains a special relationship with her two-year-old granddaughter, who is a source of endless joy in Nina’s life.

With newfound self-worth and a stable foundation, Nina has taken steps toward securing her own independent living. Having submitted applications for several apartments, she now eagerly awaits the next chapter of her journey. Her story serves as an inspiration to all, showcasing the boundless possibilities that arise when determination and resilience meet the support of a caring community. Nina is now poised to continue her forward momentum, making a positive impact in the lives of others who may find themselves on a similar path.

May Nina’s journey inspire us all to embrace second chances, uplift one another, and continue striving for a brighter tomorrow. Congratulations, Nina! May your path be filled with continued blessings and success.

Alice’s Path: Conquering Fear at Hillcrest

When Alice first arrived at Hillcrest, she was scared and disorganized. She didn’t trust the program. However, with the guidance and support of her case manager, counselor, and house parent, Alice began to trust that she was in good hands. For the first time in years, Alice was reunited with her children.

Overwhelmed with the prospect of working, taking care of two kids, living on a budget, and keeping her apartment clean, Alice benefitted from every resource that was presented to her. These resources ranged from free haircuts for her children to counseling sessions for herself. Through the structure provided on campus, she began to believe that she was on the right track and capable of handling more than she had previously thought.

In just nine weeks of hard work and determination, Alice was able to graduate and move into stable housing. While at Hillcrest, she secured a better job, paid off over $2,350 in debt, and left with a secure savings account. Alice’s story is proof that with the right support and guidance and the willingness to work at it, anything is possible. We are excited to see what the future holds for Alice and her two children who were always eager to lend their helping hands.

From Alice, “Thank you to Hillcrest and all the people that volunteer, support, and work for Hillcrest. You’ve been a light in so many people’s lives including mine. Thank you for your kind hearts. You’re changing lives.”

Empowered by Purpose: Amya’s Young Adult Journey at Hillcrest

Amya, our latest young adult graduate, spent roughly seven months in the Hillcrest program after finding herself with nothing after leaving an unstable home. She was at her rock bottom and had consequently drifted away from her church. 

When she first came to the program, she did not have her driver’s license, nor did she know how to drive. Amya took it upon herself to find a driving instructor, take lessons, learn how to manage a vehicle, obtain her license, and purchase her first car. She also completed two classes that were offered through her employer, the Park Hill School District; she was working full-time when she accomplished this. Through hard work, Amya was able to pay off over $7,500 in debt during her time at Hillcrest. She has purchased new glasses, built a savings account, and set a goal to someday begin her own nonprofit.

Amya, being a wonderful cook, will be working in the kitchen at a summer camp this year. While at Hillcrest, she poured back into the community by making meals for the life skills group and for other young adults. In addition, she offered instruction to another young adult who needed support. Now, Amya is active in her church again and serves as a women’s minister.

From Amya, “I want to thank everybody that has helped me on my journey here. I’ve learned as part of my testimony that God will provide all of your needs. Even in your lowest moments, He hears your cry. Just being here, God has revealed a lot to me. I have met a lot of different people from different walks of life and I believe that this was a part of my purpose and you all are a part of my purpose. God loves you all and He hears you. Don’t ever think that you’re in this life alone, you have a purpose. –My nonprofit is in the works and will be called Blooming Women of Essense; it will exist to help women in their walks with Christ.”