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Date : 2011-04-20
Carmen: A New Addition to the Family
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“I became homeless at 18,” says 23-year-old Carmen. The Relief Bus met Carmen in September of 2010. At the time she had just left a shelter, and was two months pregnant. Before that, she would get soup from the bus and then leave. But one particular day Austin Bonds, %28Director of Outreach%29 felt led to go talk to Carmen. Carmen said “he asked my name and then said he had some things for me from some people in Michigan.”
As it turns out, a team from Michigan had met Carmen a previous week, and sent some baby things for her. The problem was that Austin didn’t know who Carmen was at the time, and so when Austin asked Carmen’s name, much to his surprise, he discovered she was that Carmen. Thus began a relationship between Carmen and the Relief Bus family.
During that time, Carmen started having trouble with the shelter she was staying in. They required her to re-apply for housing every ten days, which would require her to travel to an off-site office, leaving her things behind in the shelter. This process became too much with a baby on the way, so she moved into another shelter in Harlem which turned out not be a good place.
About one month before having the baby, Austin and his wife Darcy asked her to come live with their family. Carmen was a little skeptical at first. She says “it was difficult going from the street to a family environment. I had been by myself for so long and didn’t have a family environment growing up.” When asked about the future, Carmen says she “doesn’t want to go back to being homeless so that [Baby Eric] can have a life like this.” Carmen now has options to keep her from going back to homelessness.
It’s surprising to Carmen that the Bonds took her in, even though they didn’t know her. It is that character, amongst many other qualities, that set the Bond’s apart as a family that is dearly loved and will be missed at The Relief Bus. After serving for four years with The Relief Bus, the Bonds will be moving. They are going to Dallas to start a new non-profit to help the poor. Austin is passing the torch of Director of Outreach to Josiah Haken %28see back%29. The investments the Bonds made into the lives of Carmen, Baby Eric, and thousands of homeless will continue to flourish for years to come.
Introducing New Outreach Staff and Board Members
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Director of Outreach
Josiah grew up a missionary kid in Cameroon, Africa, but found himself being called to a new mission field in NYC with his wife Chelsea. He considers it a distinct privilege to serve Jesus Christ Himself in the form of the poor wanderer, the prostitute, and the drug addict.
Outreach Team Leader
Born in Iran, raised in New Jersey, Yaz escaped a life of drug addiction and is now leading outreaches and walking alongside the broken and hurting on the streets, leading them down the path to freedom.
Outreach Team Leader
A recent graduate of Somerset Christian College, Lance found his plans for the future interrupted by God. He meets men and women on the street wherever they are in life, dignifying the broken and reminding others of their status as sons and daughters of God.
Outreach Team Leader & Volunteer Coordinator
A native of Finland, Johanna first came to work with The Relief Bus in 2001. This is her tenth time back since. She loves to hang out and talk with people and her compassion helps her connect with people %28especially ladies%29 on the street, showing them the love and acceptance of God.
Brack Capital Real Estate
James is married and the father of two children. He graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology with a degree in Civil Engineering. He is currently the Team Leader for The Relief Bus’ Paterson outreach location.
Partner, Ernst & Young
A graduate of University of North Texas, Jay is a licensed CPA in the State of Texas. His current position has him based out of Cleveland, OH, where he is also a member of the music ministry at Pathway Church.
First VP, Senior Trust & Estate Specialist, Merrill Lynch
Dave resides in Dallas, TX with his family and is a member of the Sturgis Family Foundation, The Dallas Foundation. He serves as a Deacon at Northwest Bible Church, and is a graduate of the University of Texas.
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The Relief Bus, P.O. Box 64 Times Square P.O., New York, NY 10108
800.736.2773, www.reliefbus.org, email@example.com