By JEREMY HENDERSON
Editor - Geneva Newspapers
Day-to-day routines were made easier for one Geneva County resident with the gift of a car last Tuesday afternoon.
Melinda Nelson of Coffee Springs sat quietly at a table inside the Geneva County Department of Human Resources as guests continued to stream into the front door. Each guest immediately stopped to greet and congratulate her on being the fifty-first resident in Alabama to receive a car through the Family Coaches Program sponsored by the Family Guidance Center of Alabama. With each handshake and hug Nelson became visibly closer to tears.
“I am happy, excited,” Nelson said. “It was something that we definitely needed.”
Melinda and her three children – Stacey, 9, Branden, who just turned 8 two days prior, and Aleigha, 5 – relied on others for transportation in the past or simply walked to get to their destinations.
“My family loaned me a car for a short period of time,” Nelson said. “Before that we walked.”
This donation coincides with the agency's 50th anniversary of services to Alabama families. The car presentation took place on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009, at noon just outside the front door of the Geneva County Department of Human Resources.
Nelson said Aleigha was too young to fully understand, but Branden saw it as a wonderful gift.
“All of my children were excited this morning,” she said. “Branden thought he got a great birthday present.”
Sue Parrish, a social worker with the Geneva County D.H.R. said she was overjoyed to see such a great gift get put into the hands of such a deserving person.“How do you write tears? Because that was her initial reaction,” Parrish said of Nelson’s reaction to the announcement.
The car was donated to the Family Coaches program by The Citizens Bank of Geneva County. The Family Coaches Program would like to thank President and CEO Mr. Roy Dowdy and Citizens Bank for their generosity towards a Geneva County family.
Ms. Nelson was referred to the JOBS program and the Family Coaches program in late June 2008. She embraced both programs with enthusiasm and determination.
Through the Family Coaches program she has received the encouragement and emotional support needed to survive some very trying months. As part of her participation in the JOBS program, she did volunteer work at the Samson IGA in order to gain the work skills necessary to become employable.
Ms. Nelson completed her six-week volunteer placement of 122 hours at the Samson IGA and was eventually hired there.
Although Ms. Nelson encountered numerous set backs and obstacles along the way, she has continued to excel even today. With the encouragement and assistance of the Family Coaches Program and the staff at Geneva County Department of Human Resources, she had kept going and is today gainfully employed at Good-To-Go in Enterprise. Her children are happy and succeeding in school.
“There are still bumps in the road that Ms. Nelson encounters, but she is better equipped to handle those and now that she has her own means of reliable transportation, those bumps in the road will be less destructive to her future,” Parrish said.