How We Help
Cornerstone meets our Neighbors where they are in their cycle of need and walks alongside them to guide them toward a position of empowerment. Some Neighbors find themselves in a financial crisis due to a job loss, prolonged illness, or other unexpected event. Other Neighbors may be caught in a generational cycle of poverty and need a hand up to break free. By partnering with community businesses, volunteers, and other nonprofits, Cornerstone is able to provide coaching and resources to empower every Neighbor who is ready to make a positive, lasting change.
Every Neighbor Has a Story
It’s our mission and our privilege to work with our Neighbors in need to create a cycle of empowerment. The following stories represent just a few of the Neighbors who make our work worthwhile.
Finding a Home — and Financial Direction
A partner organization called us about a single mother with no car and only 24 hours to find a place to live. Thankfully, an anonymous donor extended her hotel stay for a week, so we had a bit more time to meet with her to plan her next steps.
Our first concern was to help her find a home, since the medications she needed for a mental health issue could only go to a permanent address. A veteran and breast cancer survivor, she had worked in the past, but needed guidance to get back into the job market. We were able to connect her with one of our business partners who had an opening, and she was offered the job. Thanks to another generous donor, we were able to give her a car at no cost so that she would have reliable transportation.
We worked with her to create a budget to determine what she could afford in rent each month, and she was able to find a place that fit within her budget. We have continued to work with her to create a plan that will allow her to become debt-free and build her emergency fund.
Sometimes Neighbors in Need Are Hidden in Plain Sight
School teachers and counselors are often among the first members of the community to notice Neighbors in need, and Cornerstone has received calls from our local schools to let us know about children with clothing needs. In our relatively affluent area of North Texas, it can be easy to think that our area is immune to poverty and need — but you never know when the child sitting next to yours at school or the person behind you at the grocery store may not have electricity or running water, may be facing eviction, or may already be homeless. Cornerstone was formed to reach out to these Neighbors, who are sometimes hidden in plain sight.
Persevering After Several Setbacks
Many times, by the time Neighbors reach out for help, things like medical issues have been put off for so long that their physical health begins to further damage their financial health. That was the case for one single mom who lost her job, then continued to face more setbacks on her journey back to self-sufficiency.
After losing a great job that covered all of her expenses, our Neighbor took a pay cut when she accepted her next position. Since she no longer had health insurance, she decided to put off dealing with some medical issues until she could get back into a better situation. Unfortunately, that decision caught up with her, and she had to miss several days of work — with no pay.
This Neighbor had been homeless before. And when setbacks happened, she found it difficult to see the progress she had made, and felt like she was headed for homelessness again. But her Cornerstone team prayed with her, reminded her of the progress she’d made, and became her cheerleader to help her figure out the next steps. After talking with us, she realized that she’d already completed the first three suggestions we’d mentioned; she’d just forgotten about them until we brought them up.
Getting unstuck is tough, and emotionally, it takes its toll. That’s why Cornerstone works with our Neighbors` long enough to help them get through setbacks so that when they complete our program, they’ll know how to overcome them on their own.
Empowered to Leave an Abusive Situation
A Neighbor we had met with just once a couple of years ago came in to give us an update on her life since then — and in doing so, she blessed us immensely!
When she met with our case manager two years ago, our Neighbor had shared that she was in an abusive situation. She was counseled about protecting herself and her family, and the case manager made sure to emphasize that we would be there to help her beyond that first meeting. We didn’t see her again for two years. But as she explained, that one meeting empowered her to make the decision to leave the abuse.
She planned ahead and worked to create a situation where she and her children could leave — and they did. Today, she works with a nonprofit that helps women coming out of domestic violence situations. She wanted to thank us for the past two years, because she feels that we saved her life. It was such a wonderful meeting, and we were so blessed to be in the right place at the right time. Our words were all she needed that day. We offered her much more, but it was important to her that she find the strength to do the rest on her own.
Life Skills for a Homeless Teenager
Even before reaching out to Cornerstone, a teenage boy who was kicked out of his mother’s house found a mentor in the coworker who offered to let him stay at his home while he looked for a place to live. He needed guidance on whether to look for a car or a place to live first. And because the store where he worked full time was going out of business, he needed to find other avenues of income.
He soon added a second job and then a third job to his week, and we were able to help him find both a place to live and a car that fit within his budget. We helped this Neighbor learn some basic life skills that he’d never had the opportunity to explore. Now, he wants to learn how to become self-sustaining. Every month he creates a budget for the month, and at the end of the month he will review his actual spending versus his budget. This skill will be an asset to him for the rest of his life.
His goal is to graduate from college and work in the automotive industry designing cars. To help him get there, his mentor introduced him to Dave Ramsey’s teenager financial peace program. He has also worked through our budget accountability program, which involved saving funds for an emergency and starting a savings account. Our Neighbor has returned to community college and is now working only one job — a position in the automotive field that one of our donors helped to connect him with. He has also started to mentor a teen in a situation similar to his, sharing his life skills and firsthand experience with another Neighbor who can learn and grow from them.