Special thank you to Rebecca Seymour for writing this article. It was first published in 2020.
Like so many families in our community, the effects of living through this last year’s COVID-19 pandemic have hit close to home for Waukesha resident Kayla Ann. The single mom was busy working as an event planner for residents living in a high-rise in downtown Milwaukee. “All of our events stopped when COVID hit. My hours decreased tremendously, and then I was laid off in July,” Kayla Ann explains.
“It hit me hard, and I wasn’t sure how I would pay for my rent. I had my three-year-old son, and I didn’t know what to do. This was the first time as an adult that I needed to ask for help.”
Kayla Ann contacted St. Vincent de Paul where she was given information about Family Promise of Waukesha County. “I called the phone number on the website and had an immediate connection with Christina from Family Promise. I was going through a very sensitive hardship and she made me feel really good,” she said.
Family Promise case manager Christina Perkins stopped by Kayla Ann’s apartment for a home visit and explained the homelessness prevention program application process. She didn’t come empty-handed. “She brought me some home goods, cleaning products, snacks, and tissues, and the program helped me with my rent and WE Energies bill. Christina was so personable and told me if I ever needed anything just to give her a call,” says Kayla Ann.
At Christmas time, Christina stopped by with gifts and cards for Kayla Ann and her son.
“It was amazing. The churches that help with Family Promise donated the presents. The caring connections that I received from Family Promise and Christina were the biggest blessings. It was more than helping me with my rent and bills. I was also given hope,” explains Kayla Ann with emotion in her voice.
Kayla Ann applied for a product stylist position in the photo studio at the Kohls Corporation. After a rigorous application process, Kayla learned she was hired and would begin her new career on January 18.
“I found out on Christmas Eve that I was hired, and Christina was the first person I told. I went to college for interior design, so I am living my life’s passion,” she said. “Things are starting to turn around, and I am so grateful.”
Looking back over the last six months, Kayla Ann reflects on what helped her through such a challenging time in her life.
“I had to look beyond the present moment and be hopeful that there was something on the other side. My advice to others going through this is don’t be afraid to ask for help. Stay focused and strong and pray that someone will listen to you,” she says. “For me and my son, it was the blessings I received from Christina and Family Promise.”