Christine – Out of the Street – Into the Classroom

Christine went with a friend to Lutheran Social Services in Riverside to get lunch, and before long offered to be a volunteer in our donated clothing department.  That was her way of giving back to LSS for the food we had shared with her. There was a culture of hope and acceptance at our pantry, and that’s exactly what Christine needed most.

The oldest of three children, she grew up with her mother and stepfather, both of whom did drugs from as early as she can remember.  Child Protective Services (CPS) took her away from them at age 10, but she returned by age 12.

The family never had a real home, moving from motel to motel.  Sometimes her mom begged at the street corner.  On a regular basis her parents locked the door to their room and did drugs.

Christine dropped out of high school at 15 and started using, and selling drugs, even to her parents.  During that period she had three children, each of whom was taken by Child Protective Services.  She misused her pain medications, stole from stores to support her habit, and was buzzed all the time.  She was in and out of jail, and for almost a year advertised online as an escort.  That should have been the end for her, but for some reason that’s not the way it turned out.

After connecting with LSS, Christine began feeding the homeless population.  Taking a cart from a grocery store parking lot, she found food wherever possible, and then pushed the cart through the neighborhood, sharing with anyone who was hungry.  Many people offer food to the homeless, but Christine came at this from a different angle. She was homeless too. 

The LSS director in Riverside helped her obtain a California ID Card, and also assisted in finding her a room to rent.  She currently works two jobs weekly, and is enrolled at Riverside Community College in an Associate’s Degree program in Social Work and Human Services.

Christine has been sober for over three years, was baptized and attends worship regularly, and has a sense of direction in her life, and a purpose for her life. She says:

“For the first time in my life, I am focused on my future instead of simply repeating my past. It’s not easy, and not every day is filled with happiness. Despite that, though, I live with a sense of joy that my life is finally going somewhere, and there are possibilities waiting for me I had not even considered just a few years ago.”

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Ambassadors are short-term volunteers who open doors for our organization in the community, introducing new people at our bi-monthly Fostering Community Care event. These are one hour awareness events only (no solicitations are made) to expose people to the great work of LSS Community Care. To become an Ambassador here are your responsibilities:
  1. 1 – Attend at least one Fostering Community Care event during the calendar year
  2. 2 – Host or invite and bring 10-15 guests to one Fostering Community Care event within 3 months of your attending one yourself.
  3. 3 – Inform your invited guests of what the Fostering Community Care meeting will be about, and let them know that they will receive a follow up call from the organization
  4. 4 – Ambassadors will complete their commitment after bringing 10-15 persons within the 3 month time period. An Ambassador has the option to complete after one term, continue for another 3 month term or move into another role on the team.
Become an Ally

Allies are community members who want to be in a supportive, intentional, befriending relationship with an individual or family working to get out of poverty.

Other ways to help the Southern California Family Support Initiative
  • Be an Ad-Hoc Ally – share your special skill or talent
  • Be a member of your local Community Leadership Team
  • Assist with weekly Child Care/Children’s Programs
  • Be a Community Spokesman – talk about the initiative and recruit others to join
  • Financially Sponsor a Family Leader
  • Facilitate/assist with Training Our Leaders and Allies
  • Behind-the-scenes work – internet research, graphic design, writing
We are actively seeking individuals and groups to be a part of our on-going mission to serve those in need. LSS administers over 50 specialized programs and services throughout the Southern California region. Contact your nearest LSS Center to hear about the local opportunities they have available.
Be a positive role model
Give back to others and help change lives
Transform communities
Spend your time doing something rewarding
Meet new people
Have fun
Learn new skills, share your talents, build your resume

The life you change most – may be your own!