Stories that Inspire Us

James' Story

When James was referred to Wellspring, he was married with two children, ages one and three.  James had some post-secondary education, but was having difficulty maintaining his employment due to emotional distress.  As the sole income-earner, his family was at-risk of eviction.  Without a network of support, eviction would mean homelessness for his family.

James met with one of Wellspring’s Housing Stability Specialists (HSS), who was able to help him process his feelings, and identify how the emotional distress he was experiencing had made it difficult for him to maintain consistent employment.  James’ HSS helped him identify a previous employer that had helped him to see his strengths, and had identified him as an asset to the company.  Although he was viewed as a promising employee, James had been let go from this position when he did not complete a required certification due to transportation barriers.

With the support of his HSS, James learned how to advocate for himself with his previous employer, complete the certification requirement, and ask for another chance at the job.  With the guidance of his HSS, he was successful in doing so.  By securing steady employment, James was able to pay rent and utilities on time, avoid eviction and homelessness, and regain stability for his family. 

John's Story

John was a single dad with three young children when he first came to Wellspring.  As a single parent with limited income, John and his family were living in their car in an abandoned parking lot.  John was concerned for his family’s safety, especially at night. John and his children had gone weeks without proper sleep. With winter approaching, John needed immediate assistance to find safe shelter for his family.

John’s Wellspring Housing Stability Specialist (HSS) helped John and his family move out of their car and into a safe and warm motel.  John and his children were able to develop a stable routine, and sleep through the night without concern for their safety.  Once stabilized, John worked with his HSS to search for housing, which was a challenge given John’s little rental history and an extremely limited income.  John’s HSS helped draft letters to advocate for John and his family with potential landlords, and also helped John gather the necessary documentation to apply for rentals. 

With the support of his HSS, John and his family were accepted into an apartment in a safe neighborhood that met their immediate needs as a family.  John’s children were able to continue at their same elementary school, and John was able to spend less time focused on his family’s emergency needs, and more time searching for higher-wage employment to support the future of his family.

Dennis' Story

Dennis and his teenage son had been homeless for several years before they were referred to Wellspring.  Dennis had always worked hard, but an on-the-job injury had left him unemployed.  Without income, Dennis and his son were forced to move into their truck. Unable to work, Dennis struggled with depression while he tried to provide the best he could for his son. 

After years of chronic homelessness and irregular access to showers, food, and a stable and safe place to rest, Dennis knew he needed to find permanent housing for his son, but wasn’t sure where to turn for support without a network of family or friends. His son was bright and wanted to do well in high school, but was frustrated he had nowhere to do his homework, and couldn’t participate in the same activities as his peers.

Once connected to Wellspring, Dennis’ Housing Stability Specialist (HSS) immediately placed Dennis and his son in a motel so they could develop a stable and consistent routine in a safe place.  While his son focused on school, Dennis worked with his HSS on a plan to locate and secure permanent housing.   With the support of his HSS, Dennis updated his resume, began a job search, and arranged a debt re-payment plan.  Dennis’ HSS coached him through interviews with landlords.  Slowly, Dennis’ feelings of shame were replaced with confidence.  His HSS connected him with a landlord who appreciated Dennis’ honesty and advocacy.  Dennis and his son moved into permanent housing shortly thereafter, and celebrated their new, safe place to call home.

Amalia's Story

After an unexpected fire burned down her family’s apartment, Amalia and her three children became homeless.  She was referred to Wellspring Family Services’ Baby Boutique to find the essential items she needed to care for the health, safety, and comfort of her three young children during crisis, until her family transitioned into a new apartment. When she first arrived to shop for her family, Amalia was worried about finding all of the important items each of her children needed, including seasonally-appropriate clothing, school supplies, and baby items.

Shortly after entering the Baby Boutique, Amalia was surprised by the quality and supply of all of the items that her children needed.  She was able to find a new coat, backpack, and school supplies for her school-aged son, as well as books for her son’s book club, so he could continue to be involved in extracurricular activities.  To care for her two toddlers, Amalia found a changing table, car seat, and electrical outlet plugs and safety gates, so she could maintain a safe environment for her children once they found their new home.

Ed's Story

Ed enrolled in Wellspring’s Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) as a result of the emotionally and physically abusive behavior he had demonstrated toward the mother of his young daughter.  As a result of his past abusive behavior, his daughter had taken on many of her father’s attitudes and behaviors, and often was defiant and aggressive with her mother.  When Ed started Wellspring’s DVIP, he knew he needed to stop his abusive behavior.  At the beginning of the program he said, “I’m not in a big hurry to finish the program.  I’m here to learn what I need to learn.” 

Over the course of several years in Wellspring’s Domestic Violence Intervention Program and DV Dad’s Group, Ed learned how to take accountability for his behavior, and how to become a healthier, more stable partner and parent.  As he worked through the DVIP course material and group sessions, Wellspring DVIP therapists observed important shifts in his belief system; the intense negative beliefs he once harbored about the mother of his child changed.  He was able to see how many of the aspects of the relationship that he once complained about were really a function of his abuse upon her. 

During the program, he worked hard to stop all forms of abuse and replace those behaviors with ones that would support the resiliency and recovery of both his estranged partner and their daughter.  Ed shared this in his own words by stating:

I hope that when my daughter and I talk about my abusive behavior she gets that what I did was wrong, and that I’m willing to accept responsibility for those actions.  I want her to get that none of the abusive things that I did were her or her mother’s fault, they were mine.  I want her to understand that I made the decision to take those actions, and now that I understand the impact that those actions can and have had, I regret ever having taken them and will choose to not take those actions in the future.  I hope that by discussing my abusive behaviors with my daughter she learns of the mistakes that I have made and that she will see them for the wrong choices that they are and she will make the right choices when the opportunity arises.  I hope that by teaching her about my abusive behaviors, she will never have to experience them herself.”

Daniel's Story

When Daniel arrived at Wellspring’s Early Learning Center (ELC), he was five years old.  As a young child, Daniel had witnessed multiple episodes of domestic violence – including gun violence - against his mother. Daniel’s grandmother was awarded custody of Daniel and his younger brother and they moved to Seattle.  They were homeless and living in a shelter when Daniel’s grandmother enrolled him in Wellspring’s Early Learning Center.

In the ELC, Daniel’s teachers observed that he was bright and capable academically. He demonstrated a strong vocabulary for his age, and learned new concepts quickly.  While these were positive signs, Daniel struggled to regulate his emotions and behavior in the classroom, due to the toxic stress and trauma he endured as a young child. He was easily triggered by loud noises and sudden movements. 

Wellspring ELC teachers and an in-classroom child therapist began working with Daniel to help him learn to regulate his emotions and behavior through play therapy.  Together, they played games that reminded Daniel of the sense of safety he wanted to feel.  Slowly, Daniel began articulating his emotions in a healthy way during play.  He learned to ask for personal space when he started feeling angry or overwhelmed. Daniel’s teachers observed his sensitivity to environmental triggers decrease, and his engagement with his classmates increase.

 After a year of individualized attention and support, Daniel was able to demonstrate that he had gained the social, emotional, and development skills needed to be successful in a kindergarten classroom.

Maria's Story

Maria, a 39-year-old mother of four, began receiving services from Wellspring while living in a shelter with her family.  Maria’s husband had recently been deported, and she was struggling to locate and maintain housing.  Exhausted, stressed, and in crisis, Maria was challenged to provide financial and emotional stability for her children.

Maria began working with a Wellspring Housing Stability Specialist (HSS) to locate housing, and with a therapist in Wellspring’s Parent Child Services (PCS) program to help strengthen the parent-child relationship.  Maria’s PCS therapist also worked with her on ways to cope with her youngest daughter’s Autism diagnosis, and how to manage her daughter’s ongoing special needs and care.

With the support of her HSS, Maria soon secured safe and stable housing for her family, while she continued working with her PCS therapist to gain new parenting skills to improve and strengthen the mental health and well-being of her children.  With increased stability, Maria had more time and a greater emotional capacity to learn about Autism, and to advocate for her daughter’s educational needs.  As her own mental health continued to improve and stabilize, she was able to return to work to and earn enough income to enroll in a first-time home buyers program, and begin to save for a down payment on a permanent home. 

Nate's Story

Nate was referred to Wellspring’s Parent Child Services (PCS) program to improve his parenting skills and strengthen his relationship with his two young sons, ages four and five.  A single parent, Nate was working multiple jobs to provide for his family, but wasn’t able to earn enough income to maintain their housing, causing them to become homeless.

Focused on the survival of his family, it was a challenge for Nate to support the emotional needs and healthy development of his children. Nate was frustrated that his boys had difficulty regulating their emotions and behavior, and that one of his sons’ language was significantly developmentally delayed.

Nate’s PCS therapist worked with him to identify and express his concerns regarding his two young boys, his existing strengths as a parent, and his desire to acquire new skills to become more effective and engaged with his children. Nate’s PCS therapist began facilitating play sessions, to help teach Nate how to observe, listen, and interpret the needs of his children by focusing on verbal and non-verbal cues.  Through “Promoting First Relationships” curriculum, Nate’s PCS therapist helped him discover and practice a child-centered approach when interacting with his children in challenging moments.

As their sessions progressed, Nate’s PCS therapist observed Nate and his children begin to emotionally regulate each other, and form a more balanced interaction.  As Nate gained new skills to read and understand his children’s cues and needs, their behavior improved.  As Nate’s parenting skills continued to expand, the parent-child relationship deepened, and his boys began to show improvement in their social and emotional development. Nate’s younger son began speaking in full sentences during play sessions. Nate shared with his PCS therapist how relieved he was to discover new skills and tools that would help him become the father he wanted to be for his sons.