April Hall is no stranger to the importance of having people in one's life to support and help out when needed. As a loving mother to her 7-year-old daughter Amy and a part-time home care assistant to the elderly, April understands how meaningful having support can be. For April, Center for Independent Futures helps her to achieve her own hopes and dreams, so she can support her daughter in doing the same.
A year ago, April approached her CIF tutors for help in finding a new apartment. Like any mother, April wants to give Amy the best life possible. She was tired of living in a place with unresponsive landlords and wanted Amy to attend a school with teachers that were able to give her the guidance and extra support she deserves. “We need a comfortable home in a safe neighborhood with a good school where Amy can learn and make friends,” April stated.
The prospect of apartment hunting, packing, moving, and leaving familiar places behind seemed overwhelming, so CIF staff worked with April to break the moving process down into manageable steps. “We helped April determine where she'd like to live and coached her in searching online for apartments,” explains CIF Community Life Coordinator, Megan Baer. “Then she visited several places with her tutors and eventually found one she liked in Evanston with a terrific school nearby!”
In preparation for signing the lease, April wrote down questions for her future landlord and did Internet research on the management company to make sure that this experience would be different than the last. She was happy and relieved to find that her new landlord had been positively reviewed and was very responsive. Later that week, April signed the lease and got the keys to her new apartment!
When moving day arrived, CIF staff joined April and Amy to help move their belongings into their new home. “Like most moves, it was a long, hard day filled with lots of excitement, laughs and fun,” says Stephanie Bay, CIF Life Skills Tutor. Where should the couch go? Does this picture look good here? Oh no, we’re out of garbage bags!
In the days and weeks following the move, April worked with CIF staff to get to know her new neighborhood. She learned about all the new bus and train routes and did practice runs with her tutors to all the important locations: Amy's new school and daycare, the YMCA, the grocery store and pharmacy, her landlord's office. “We explored the neighborhood together on foot and found a nice coffee shop and a beautiful park where Amy could play,” relates Bay. “Staff supported April as she registered Amy at her new school, enrolled her in daycare and signed her up for swimming lessons.”
Many months after the move, April and Amy continue to be very happy in their new home and neighborhood. "It was exciting to show Amy and my new apartment to my aunt when she was in town visiting," said April. "We went out to dinner a good restaurant in my neighborhood to celebrate." Sometimes realizing hopes and dreams can be complicated and feel overwhelming…having help along the way can make all the difference.