HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Village of Promise, a family advancement center in Huntsville, went through some challenges in the past six months but worked hard to keep its programs open during covid.
I spoke with two staff members at the Village of Promise who took part in the programs many years ago. They have a message for folks who might be struggling right due to the economic impacts of the pandemic, or other circumstances.
Both women joined the program initially to get help themselves, and now they are part of the staff, helping other people turn their lives around too.
Kenya Epps, the infant program coordinator, and Abeni Welcome, the family connections program coordinator, say Village of Promise helped them become leaders in Huntsville.
“Village of Promise has helped myself and my family just grow into better communicators and also working in the community,” Epps said. “Myself and my husband, we love helping people and that’s what Village of Promise has done for us.”
Epps says she is in awe of what Village of Promise stands for. Not only does the nonprofit enhance the lives of children, but it works holistically with parents to keep family ties strong.
“I tell my parents in the Infant University Program... ‘I come in here and you seek stuff from me, but really I gain so much from you,’” Epps said.
Epps' son was also part of the Village of Promise many years ago and today he is a volunteer.
“My greatest experience that I continue to brag on is the Village of Promise Freedom School program, which is our summer enrichment reading program,” Epps said. “My son, who is now 13 was in the 1st grade and came in on a 1.9 reading level. After six weeks of their summer reading program he was reading at a 3rd grade level.”
Abeni Welcome says the program also helped her children, both academically and socially.
“I have been affiliated with Village of Promise for eleven years,” Welcome said. “It was a welcoming experience being that I was a newcomer to Huntsville. I met the founder and she pulled me into the program, and overall I love the programs. They have helped me and my children.”
Ultimately, Village of Promise provides tools and resources to help people excel in all aspects of their lives.
Epps and Welcome gained hope, pride and a sense of independence.
“As far as for me, it enhanced my leadership and put me in positions to be a leader and to help others,” Welcome said.