After months of prayer and careful consideration, Gary and I are thrilled to introduce the Sheyka’s as the first official Restoration Initiative family. Erikka is a single mother to two awesome children, Ryan (16) and Jordyn (9). Gary and I have affectionately been referring to her as our guinea pig; reminding her that this is our first go at this, and we have absolutely no idea what we are doing! 🙂 While that is not entirely true, we do, in fact, have a Plan A, B, C, D…you get the picture, and much of this first year will be a matter of trial and error. Erikka and the kids have agreed to come along for the ride, and we are so excited to be partnering with such a wonderful family.
Erikka is a kind, intelligent woman with a beautiful spirit. She is humble in every sense of the word, doing very little for herself and giving so much to meet the needs of her children. Her kids are amazing as well; bright, compassionate, and polite. Her 16 year old son, Ryan, is essentially the “man of the house”, and has happily assumed that role, taking care of the responsibilities that would typically fall upon a husband or father. He cares for his younger sister while Erikka works evening shifts, and has willingly put off getting his driver’s licence, recognizing that the additional insurance cost would be a burden for his family. Jordyn is beautiful inside and out. She is warm and friendly, and our kids absolutely love her.
Over the past several years, Erikka has battled domestic abuse, depression, and cancer, all of which attributed to difficulty finding and maintaining employment. During her periods of unemployment, there were still basic needs to meet; food, housing, utilities, and mounting medical bills, and over time, she had debt she could not manage and bills she could not pay. After several moves and two evictions, she and her children recently found themselves homeless.
Gary and I were first introduced to Erikka by our friends at Family Promise. Family Promise is a collaborative, non-profit program run by several of our area churches. They provide, what is considered, emergency housing to families who are living in cars or motels, or possibly drifting from place to place. The families are housed within the church buildings for several weeks, and supportive services are offered, with an emphasis on job placement. It is a wonderful, successful program, but often times, a few weeks is not long enough for families to truly get back on their feet, and additional, long term support is needed.
Family Promise heard about our program and saw the potential for a partnership. They had taken Erikka and her children off of the street and helped her obtain employment, but now the family was in need of some stability; an opportunity to work, save, and plan for the future, without the burden of keeping a roof over their head and food on the table. That is the vision Gary and I had when we established The Restoration Initiative, and it is a privilege to be able to provide the support they need. We are grateful that God has intersected our lives and we look forward to working with them this year. We hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship that will continue for years to come!