HOPE Finds Its Way Home
As part of Rainbow Village’s Give the Gift of HOPE initiative, we’re shining the spotlight on a variety of “views from the village”, the way Rainbow Village has touched their lives and what HOPE means to them. There is likely no better example of the power of HOPE than former Rainbow Village resident, Charnette Brown.
Everything was fine…
In 2017, Charnette Brown and her young grandson, Dominic, moved to Georgia. They had a cozy little apartment and she had landed a job as a nurse for an allergy center. They found a wonderful faith community and Dominic began attending the local charter school. On the surface, everything seemed okay. Looking back now, Charnette can see the tiny fissures that were beginning to grow. Between work and going to school to complete her bachelor’s degree, she never felt like there was enough time to take proper care of herself or bond as a family. She was also living paycheck to paycheck, had little to nothing in savings and was raising a six-year-old boy all on her own.
2018 was a life-changing year
A car accident and underlying health issues led to pneumonia and a month-long hospitalization – during which Charnette not only lost her employment, but also the home she and Dominic shared. Members of the church took him in while she remained in the hospital. Once discharged, their faith community did what it could to put Charnette and Dominic up in an extended-stay hotel. While she was able to return to work, Charnette was unable to regain her financial footing. That’s when she heard about Rainbow Village, applied and was accepted into the program. For the first time in 14 months, Dominic had his own bed and dresser again.
COVID-19 hit the U.S.
Sadly, shortly after she and Dominic moved into their new apartment, a global pandemic became front-page news. Because she was working for a major hospital system at the time, Charnette was mandated to work while Dominic spent time at the YMCA through their essential workers’ program. Constantly surrounded by patients sick with COVID-19, it wasn’t long before Charnette also fell ill. However, this time she had a support system around her that gave her the peace she needed to recover. Meanwhile, thanks to a similar sense of peace, Dominic began flourishing academically and socially. Unlike their time at the extended stay hotel, he felt safe to play outside and was no longer embarrassed to invite friends over. Even better, Charnette had the time to spend with him and strengthen their bond as a family. After all, they’d been through a lot together.
Rainbow Village Comes Full Circle
Once Charnette had regained her strength, she returned to school to complete her bachelor’s degree and worked as a hospice nurse to save money so she could reclaim her life beyond Rainbow Village. One night, she answered a call to rush to the bedside of a patient who was in his final hours. While there, she prayed with the family and learned more about the man lying in the bed. His wife and children spoke of the great accomplishments of his life – one of which included the founding of Rainbow Village. She replied, “I live in Rainbow Village!” She attests that when Rev. Joel Hudson closed his eyes for the last time, he knew his job was well-done.
What it means to THRIVE
Today, Charnette is not only a proud member of Rainbow Village’s THRIVE graduate program, but she is also pursuing a double master’s degree. A certified dementia practitioner, she is one of the few people in the State of Georgia who can teach others to provide dementia care. In addition to being the Director of Nurses for The Memory Center, she is now their Executive Director. During her two years at Rainbow Village, in addition to paying down her debt, she was able to save three months’ worth of savings – providing her a safety net for the future. She hopes to extend those savings to 180 days. She has weathered many a storm and is better for having done so, and she finds a sense of relief knowing that if she ever hits any obstacles, all she has to do is call on her friends at Rainbow Village. Charnette is a shining example of everything the Rainbow Village team hopes for its graduates and so much MORE. The same holds true for her grandson Dominic, who is doing well in school while playing football for Lawrenceville.
What HOPE means to Charnette
For Charnette, HOPE isn’t necessarily tied to wealth, nor does it have to be tangible or finite. It’s the pursuit of great health. She finds HOPE each day when she opens her eyes in the morning, can feel her fingers and toes, takes that cleansing breath and knows that she still here. It isn’t just about what she can attain during her time on Earth, but what she can give. In her role as Executive Director at the Memory Center, she has hired two Rainbow Village residents and mentors them. She takes pride in serving as an example of what could be and wants to be part of providing that HOPE to other residents.
“There was something very special about meeting Reverend Joel and being able to tell him what he had done for me and my child before he took his last breath,” said Charnette. “It drives me. I want his legacy to live on. I want to be the example for him because he was the example for me. I hadn’t taken a hospice case for a year, so it was a chance encounter that I chose to take that call that night. Rainbow Village is so imbedded in me – having lived through the process, attended Life Skills classes and benefited from the Success Coaching. To meet Reverend Joel and hear the stories from his family – how his vision grew from one house to a village that provides a home to 30 families at a time – it’s incredible. I have to live that man’s legacy.”
For those who elect to give the gift of HOPE to families in need, Charnette wants them to know that they’re not just giving money… they’re watering the seed. From that seed, there is growth – life-changing growth… all because someone cared enough to water the seed.
Give the Gift of HOPE
If you would like to give the gift of HOPE to families like Charnette and Dominic – families experiencing homelessness who need a hand up rather than a handout – you can do so by visiting the Gift of HOPE page on our website or texting Giftofhope to 844-422-6444. For corporate contributions or large donations, we invite you to call our Chief Philanthropy Officer, Randy Redner, directly on his Gift of HOPE Hotline at 404-273-1292. Learn more about our organization and our mission to bring Help, Hope, Housing and Healing to families in need by visiting www.RainbowVillage.org.