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The Path to Hope

White picket fences, freshly cut lawns and wrap-around porches perfectly fit together to portray the American Dream at its finest. Although this portrayal of what life was like in the 1930s no longer looks the same, the yearning for something better still rings true for many today.

For Shannon and Jocelyn, the dream of a better tomorrow began with a way out of Buffalo, New York. While the flashy window displays and the reflective high-rise buildings of New York paint a life of glitz and glam that makes every step feel like you’re on the set of a movie, Shannon and Jocelyn found themselves working hard to keep hardship and darkness out of their home.

After growing into a family of six, the streets of their hometown had become overcome with the bitter cold and the increasing crime scene. And with high school on the horizon, relocating their teenage sons to somewhere safe and full of possibilities became the pair’s driving force.

When the world shut down with the pandemic, Shannon and Jocelyn were presented with the opportunity of a lifetime to fulfill their dream of moving out of Buffalo. Florida was to become the home they had been searching for – and at the beginning it was.

“Coming down here, we hit the ground running,” Jocelyn recounted. “We found jobs and we had our ball rolling, but mid-way through I caught COVID, which caused me to be out of work and fall short on our rent.”

One of the greatest misfortunes of today is generalizing and misunderstanding the hardships those in our community face. For Jocelyn and Shannon, it wasn’t a series of bad decisions that led them to financial hardship. It was the mounting external pressures that created a domino effect that became too difficult to keep up with.

“That’s when we came here to The Sharing Center to seek some assistance for our rent, and we met Tony,” Jocelyn said as she described how things changed when they crossed paths with one of our case managers. “He pulled through for us with the first month’s rent. He made sure we had a Christmas tree and gifts for our kids.”

Jocelyn and Shannon were able to overcome their hardship with a little support.

“It was a helping hand dealing with Tony and The Sharing Center,” Shannon added. “I got sick as well, and the apartment complex we were living in at the time was demanding our payments even though neither one of us was able to work. They proceeded with an eviction.”

Today, more families than ever are fighting to keep a roof over their heads. Struggles like the ones Jocelyn and Shannon were faced with make it increasingly more difficult to do so. Through our Families In Crisis program, the couple’s lawyer cancelation fee was paid off, the eviction was overridden, and their family was able to stay in their home for the duration of their lease.

“That really helped us fulfill our dream so that it wasn’t short-lived,” Jocelyn explained. “If we didn’t have you guys, we would’ve been out and who knows, we would’ve had to go back to the space that we were trying to get out of.”

The Sharing Center’s mission is to help families and individuals navigate through seasons of hardship by sharing essential services to bridge the gap between poverty and stability. If you or someone you know need assistance, please visit