Skip to content

Sandy Success Story

Sandy first came to Project Grow scared and heartbroken. Her father had tragically passed away and with him, the sense of stability of their home and livelihood.  Her mother worked incredibly hard to support her family and Sandy was grateful for that, and even though her mother did everything she could possibly do, they still had a very low income and struggled to get by.  

English was Sandy’s second language and her mother spoke very limited English. Sandy did the best she could, but it made it extremely difficult for her to understand her homework, make friends and feel any sense of self-confidence.¬†In addition to¬†educational challenges, Sandy ¬†suffered from significant dental issues, but due to her family’s lack of insurance coverage, those issues went untreated. She was a very picky eater but loved candy, which exacerbated her dental problems. Sandy missed school often as a result of feeling ill.¬†¬†

“Sandy did the best she could, but it made it extremely difficult for her to understand her homework make friends and feel any sense of self-confidence”

Sandy started attending Adopt-A-Family’s Project Grow and immediately began receiving academic services, including literacy tutoring from¬†Literacy AmeriCorps members and one-on-one tutoring in all subject areas with Grow‚Äôs school District of¬†Palm Beach County’s tutor. Sandy also started seeing Adopt-A-Family’s on-site counselor to process the loss of her father.¬† She expressed that she was afraid to see a dentist so Project Grow staff talked to Sandy about the importance of proper hygiene and regular dental visits for her overall health.¬† After participating in the ‚ÄúGrow it, Try It, Like It‚ÄĚ nutrition classes at Project Grow, she learned that she could substitute fruit for candy. Adopt-A-Family was able to connect Sandy‚Äôs mother to dental and health services for her family and Sandy has since received the dental treatment she needed.¬†¬†

Sandy had a hard time easing into the program at first; she would cry almost every day, struggled with her reading and was

extremely shy and hesitant to participate in class. The amazing teachers, tutors and staff refused to give up on her though, and diligently worked alongside her and regularly met with Sandy’s mother to better support her academic and personal growth.¬†¬†¬†

Sandy is now in 1st grade and has become a bright, outgoing young girl. She is absent from school much less often and has even become a leader in her Project Grow classroom. Her reading skills have improved as a result of the tutoring services she has received, her dental and overall health has improved significantly and she has gained immense self-confidence.  Sandy enjoys participating in science experiments in her Project Grow classroom and dreams of one day becoming a police officer.  

Do you want to be a part of Sandy’s story and other’s like her? Consider donating today and your gift will go directly to Project Grow and the impact the program has on children’s lives every single day.¬†¬†

Adopt-A-Family is thrilled to be participating in Great Give 2018! Great Give Palm Beach & Martin Counties is a 24-hour online giving event led by United Way of Palm Beach County, Achieve, Nonprofits First, and United Way of Martin County designed to raise as much money as possible for local nonprofits in a single day, held on 4/24, this year! This exciting community-wide event celebrates the spirit of giving and the collective effort it takes to strengthen our local nonprofits and better serve residents in need Рfrom children and seniors to the environment and animals!

You can learn more about our campaign by click here

Why is it GREAT for our community?

  • Inspires as many people as possible to give.
  • Enriches our community’s spirit of giving.
  • Promotes and supports our local nonprofits.
  • Raises millions of dollars for community good.
  • Better serves our residents in need.


Only possible by online donations, you can find Adopt-A-Family’s special campaign for Great Give by checking out our giving page! It has information, interesting facts and an¬†incredible Success Story about a brave, young girl in our Project Grow program. This unique giving page¬†is also where you will go on the day of the county-wide event to give your donations! Please consider¬† joining¬†us on this¬†exciting day of giving back to our community in a fun, supportive and exciting way! Keep an eye out on our social media pages for daily updates on our campaign. And don’t forget to tag us on your pages if you commit to giving and/or give to our campaign on the day of! Let’s come together to impact our community in a positive way!






(for mobile viewing, turn your phone horizontally for best quality). 

Angela is a full-time crossing guard employed by the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office. As a single grandmother to David, a ten-year-old student in Project Grow, life poses many challenges. Adopt-A-Family has provided a stable, consistent, and nurturing environment David would otherwise not have while his grandmother is working.

“Coming to know Adopt-A-Family has turned the light on,” shared Angela. “It has been such a joy and peace of mind knowing David has a special place to go each day afterschool.”

Each day we see the positive impact a stable environment provides our families and children. Click To Tweet

We are asking for your support to ensure we provide access to opportunity and stability for more families than ever this year. Your donation will go directly to enhancing educational programming through our afterschool program, Project Grow, in addition to strengthening our efforts to end and prevent family homelessness throughout Palm Beach County.

When you Give with your heart for this year’s Great Give, our families and children grow, just like Angela’s.

We hope you will choose to #GiveAAF17.


About the Great Give: Great Give Palm Beach and Martin Counties is a 24-hour online giving event led by United Way of Palm Beach County, Achieve, Nonprofits First and United Way of Martin County designed to raise as much money as possible for nonprofits in a single day. This community-wide event celebrates the spirit of giving and the collective effort it takes to strengthen our community by raising critical funds for local nonprofits.

We recently caught up with Celine J., an Adopt-A-Family success story from the Senator Philip D. Lewis Center and Program REACH.

Celine, can you share a bit about what caused you to fall on difficult times?

After my partner and I separated, things began to fall apart. Going from a two-income household to just me, was life-altering and scary for me and my children. 

My rent was over $1,400, I had a car payment, and all my other bills were simply too much for me to stay on my feet. I was working a pretty good job but it wasn’t enough to sustain my expenses. We ended up homeless and lost nearly everything. My car was repossessed and on top of it all, I found out I was pregnant only a month later. My pregnancy was very rough and I was put on bed-rest for the majority of it. This inevitably caused me to lose my job. Everything in my life was coming undone.

It was then I found out about Adopt-A-Family’s Lewis Center office. The team helped me right away (the same day of my appointment). My caseworker told me she wouldn’t let my precious children and I spend another night not knowing where we’d stay. The team worked fast to ensure I’d have a roof over my head. After staying several nights in a hotel, I was referred to Program REACH, an emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness. Everything began turning for the better.

How did participating in the program change your life? 

The kids (I have 10-year old twins and a healthy 5-month old baby girl) loved it here.

Having stability and a foundation made us feel safe again. - Celine J. Click To Tweet

In addition to my case manager helping me find a new job, we were introduced to a number of community resources: I learned budgeting skills, developed a savings plan, and worked with a housing specialist toward finding affordable housing that fell within my existing budget. In a matter of weeks, my housing specialist found a beautiful (and most importantly, affordable) home to call my own. With my newly acquired budgeting skills and savings plan, I was able purchase a reliable used vehicle without the need of a car loan. Going to and from work will now be easier than ever without the need to rely on public transportation.

What will you remember most about your time at Adopt-A-Family?

Sometimes people fall flat on their faces and just may need a second chance. I needed Adopt-A-Family to help rebuild my life. I was pushed to work hard all while being treated with compassion, kindness, respect, and a family spirit.  I’ll never forget my family at Adopt-A-Family.

And, neither will my children. 

*Celine’s name was changed for privacy purposes.

Our #GiveAAF17 mission statement: A stable home creates opportunities for our families. We cannot change lives without you. When you give to Adopt-A-Family for this year’s Great Give, you are creating the opportunity for our children and families to grow.¬†

For part three of our Great Give program feature series, we caught up with Director of Homeless Prevention Services, Shayene Weatherspoon, to learn more about Adopt-A-Family’s self-sufficiency programs.¬†¬†

What are some of the common barriers faced by families you serve?

Our families face a number of barriers‚ÄĒone of the largest being the lack of affordable housing in Palm Beach County. Even for families who work full-time, it is still a struggle to pay rent due to how expensive housing costs are in the community. Another barrier our families face is a lack of employer benefits such as paid time off for sick days. Sometimes a minor crisis like a child being sick is all it takes for a family to end up on the brink of homelessness.

What are some relevant and interesting success stories that stand out from your programs?

One family that we served recently immediately popped into my mind. A single mom who was working full-time and taking care of her son contacted our agency in desperation. A few weeks ago she was at work when she received a frantic call from day care informing her that her toddler had stopped breathing and an ambulance was on its way to take him to the hospital. Her son ended up spending more than two weeks in the hospital, forcing this loving and concerned mom to miss a great deal of work. She exhausted her paid leave and was forced to use a great deal of unpaid leave as well. This led to the family falling significantly behind on rent and being faced with eviction.

She turned to Adopt-A-Family with an eviction notice from the court. The Housing Stabilization Program was able to intervene, immediately stopping the eviction and bringing the family current on rent and utilities. We also provided resources to help the mom navigate her expenses and learn about budgeting and savings.

The important thing is that she never gave up. Click To Tweet

Shay Weatherspoon, Director of Homeless Prevention Services

What is one thing that comes to mind that you’d like to tell the community about vulnerable PBC families that your program serves?

One thing I’d really like to message to the community about the families that we serve in HSP and SEH is that these are families that are working, doing their best to care for their children, and trying their hardest to maintain their income and expenses. These families are living day-to-day life when an unexpected crisis happens Рa crisis that could befall any of us. It could be a medical issue, a job downsizing, a fire…Any number of circumstances can leave at family at risk of becoming homelessness. There is not one type of homeless or at-risk family.

What are some key goals for families who participate in Adopt-A-Family’s self-sufficiency and prevention programming?

One of the most important goals in our prevention programs is financial stability. For each family that looks a little bit different. Primarily, we are working on helping families budget. We want families to ensure they are developing savings skills that will help to serve as a safety net for future emergencies and allow the family to plan for the future. One of the key objectives in our Service Enriched Housing program is to harness these skills so that families can eventually become homeowners. Additionally, it’s important that we link families to resources in the community to ensure they have all the tools they need to remain stably housed.

Why are the self-sufficiency and prevention programs important in Palm Beach County?

The work that Adopt-A-Family does to prevent homelessness in Palm Beach County is important. Without it, many people, people like you and I, would enter the homeless shelter system. It’s amazing to be in a position to keep that from happening.

Why is it important to support Adopt-A-Family?

If I could say one thing to the community about why it’s important to support our work, I’d like to say that we cannot do the work that we do without you. Our work to help homeless families, to help families at risk of becoming homeless, and to help kids that have been through trauma, would not be possible without support from the community.

“We are fortunate to be in a position to help those in need of housing, in need of stability, and in need of hope.” -Shay Weatherspoon

Greg H. and his daughter, a recent Adopt-A-Family HSP success story.


Our 2017 Great Give mission statement: When you give with your heart during this year’s Great Give, our families and children will thrive. We can only impact the lives of families with you. Create the opportunity for our families and children to grow.  #GiveAAF17 during the Great Give.  

To stay up-to-date with the latest AAF Great Give news, follow AAF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To help spread the word about our work, please click to share on Facebook or Twitter below!




The first time Greg H. heard about Adopt-A-Family, his life was in crisis. He was served with a 3-day notice of eviction and knew of no other steps to avoid the inevitable, #homelessness.

Greg reached out to Adopt-A-Family’s Housing Stabilization Program and qualified for immediate assistance. “In one word, the program was life-saving,” he shared proudly, while hugging his daughter. “Home is my foundation, and Adopt-A-Family ensured I’d keep a roof over my head. Truthfully, I have no clue where I’d be without the support.”

My life has entirely turned around after being on the brink of homelessness. Click To Tweet

Gregory, a loving single father, also highlighted Adopt-A-Family’s counseling services as being vital to behavior changes in his daughter after receiving support.

“Ms. Joan [our therapist] has turned my daughter’s behaviors into positive coping mechanisms. Her anger and frustrations in school have melted away. You wouldn’t believe how much she’s transformed. She went without smiling for such a long time. Now, she smiles freely. It’s been a blessing for us. She wants to come to therapy every day.”

We then asked Greg what his future looks like after receiving Adopt-A-Family’s helping hand.

“I find myself crying at night simply in amazement of our world turning for the better — all because of Adopt-A-Family.”

My future is very, very bright. And most importantly, so is my daughter's. Click To Tweet


When you #GiveAAF17 for this year’s Great Give, our families and children grow.