In 2017 Javier, his wife, and 5-year-old daughter were on the verge of starvation. They fled Venezuela to escape the country’s collapsing economy and extreme poverty. They sought a better life in the United States.
Once in the U.S., Javier quickly found full-time work. When he found out his frequent headaches were caused by a brain tumor that required emergency surgery, he was worried about how he would provide for his family. Due to complications from his surgery, Javier was unable to work for a total of six weeks. By the time he recovered, he had lost his job. He was already behind on his bills when he received a note under his door written in English. All he could understand was that he had to vacate his home in 3 days.
Javier learned about the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center from church, and he simply walked in to the Center with that letter. When Alma Santos, the Center’s Coordinator and co-founder, met Javier she listened to his story.
Alma immediately began advocating on his behalf. She spoke with his landlord and was able to get the eviction rescinded. Then Alma contacted our partners at The Columbus Foundation and was able to procure a Gift of Kindness (a financial emergency gift) which allowed him to get caught up on his rent and utilities. Furthermore, CSS helped Javier find a new job with benefits, gave him food, enrolled him in ESL classes, and referred him to legal aid. Javier is now healthy and working again.
With the wide array of services now available at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center, we are able to provide individualized services to respond effectively to the challenges facing our clients. For Javier, an illness would have caused his family to spiral if not for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center. Now he and others like him have the support they need to empower their success.