Last autumn one of our residents, Desiree, shared with us that her granddaughters had suffered the loss of their mother a few months earlier in August. Desiree expressed how she had been doing her best to support them but conveyed a sense of helplessness in not knowing what to do when they experienced nightmares or loss-driven tantrums.

Our staff took it upon themselves to locate virtual grief support groups and grief webinars to help Desiree support her grieving granddaughters. Desiree immediately signed up with one of the programs, allowing her granddaughters to participate immediately. She also participated in a Play N’ Learn session at the resource center where she and her granddaughters sang songs during circle time and painted leaves with shaving creme and food coloring.

Project Access, along with the leasing office, was also able to provide a Thanksgiving turkey, sides, and a pie, to help the family celebrate the holiday. Desiree was also given leads on holiday assistance, signing up with a local charity for toy procurement and receiving food assistance as well. Our staff was so inspired by Desiree and her granddaughters that they nominated the family to receive an art box from a local program (each week in the month of December the girls received a surprise box of fun activities).

Since the holidays, Desiree has stopped by the center a few times just to say, “Hello” and even brought us a nice leaf one day to add to our after-school leaf collection. In an act of “Pay It Forward,” she has volunteered on a few events as well.

Desiree has shared with us that everything that she has been able to get done is because of Project Access assisting her with getting the needed information and being put in touch with the right contacts. In her words, Project Access “has been a Godsend.” However, Desiree herself made it all happen for the love of her granddaughters and through her own remarkable personal fortitude and obvious big heart.