As we spent time here, we realized that there were several areas in which there were either insufficient services for families in our situation or no services at all. For children like mine, who had a parent with cancer, there were no support services at the time. And there was no Indian Center in the whole county. So we formed Heritage of Healing to do something to fill in the gaps.
When I came here with my two children, who were 6 and 9 at the time, we were homeless. We spent time in a shelter for homeless families, got signed up for services such as food stamps, and applied for Disability from Social Security. What I've done through my work for Heritage of Healing has been for other families like mine, because I understand firsthand what they're going through; but also so I can better provide for my own children.
Heritage of Healing has come a long way and made great progress in a short time. We've incorporated as a nonprofit in Michigan and received our 501c3 status from the IRS. We've begun to provide services to children in need, and we hold monthly events on a regular basis. In September we rented a space that not only is a space where we can hold these events, but also will allow us to provide lodging for families such as ours when they come from elsewhere and need to be here for a few weeks while they receive treatment at the University of Michigan Cancer Center (link to see an article they did about me). My children and I live in the upstairs of the House as caretakers so someone will be here at all times.
We've received two grants so far in the year since we've gotten our nonprofit status, and we will receive another grant in January that will cover our expenses for about six months, while we find additional grants. But in the meantime, we haven't yet paid our rent for November and December. Our new rental company has taken us to court, and if we don't have the rent paid before the holidays, we will be evicted. This not only means we won't be able to hold our events here or provide lodging, but my children and I will again be homeless.
I have worked as best I can, given that I have an incurable cancer and am still on chemotherapy, to provide for my family and make progress forward. It would break my heart to go all the way back to the beginning and be homeless again, undoing all the work I've done for seven years to improve our living conditions, not to mention losing all the progress we've made as an organization.
We ask that you contribute what you can at this time so we can continue our forward motion. Additional funding is coming, we just need to get past this period of being between grants.
- Valerie Przywara
- Greg Gehl
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