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The Bryant Family Finds Hope at Mother Seton Village

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 12:20 am by Nancy A. Kleinfield

Unbeknownst to them, when Arleta and Mike Bryant made their rent payments several years ago, their landlord wasn’t paying his end.  With five kids to raise, they found themselves evicted.  In the meantime, Mike, who was a full time chef, sustained an injury and found himself out of work.  Arleta said, “It was the lowest point, and I’m never going back to that.” 

The series of bad circumstances snowballed out of control, going from one bad incident to the next.  The family had no choice but go to a shelter, which was ironically the same shelter to which Mike had once provided food.  They eventually transi- tioned into temporary housing at Camillus House’s Mother Seton Village.  Any day now, because of Camillus, they will be moving to permanent housing.  They have nothing but love, pride, and strong work ethics.  They lost all their belongings from their former house when they couldn’t even scrape enough money together to make the payments to their storage unit. 

Today, Mike talks proudly about starting a food truck business and how things will now progress.  Arleta is working every day and is ready to get a job as a security officer.  Stephen Mathelier, Arleta’s case manager, has seen the motivation and drive coming from Arleta.  “She is motivated to work and be successful”, he says.  Along with Stephen’s dedication and compassion, this family has a fighting chance.  Camillus House has provided them with housing, day care, school programs, camp, food benefits, life skills classes, new job training, resume writing, and much more.

Kimmy Woods, Family Service Coordinator, helps make the kids and family’s dreams come true.  Kimmy arranges for the kids to go to summer camp and field trips throughout the year.  She also helps them with back packs and school supplies, which are generously donated every year by Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL).  Also, through Camillus House's partnership with NCL, each child at Mother Seton Village receives a toy on Christmas.   

Arleta loves helping others, too.  She heads up the parent committee for Head Start, which provides school children with free day care.  Mike is temporarily working part time at a cleaners, pressing clothes.  He is trying to manage his injuries and recuperate.  When you speak with Arleta she is instrumental in helping her husband rehabilitate.  They are a team, and they help to support each other. 

She said it wasn’t always that way.  She suffered from depression after all this happened.  She found the strength and the will to fight back, however, and now she will never let this happen again.  She is a fighter and so is Mike.  Their five children – Michael (nickname “man man”), another Michael (nickname “Juicy”), Jordan, Shamaya, and Arthur – are all well behaved.  Arleta says rules help the children, as she points to a rule list posted on their wall.  Arleta feels that the structure at Mother Seton Village helped her and her family stay focused on the right track. 

Soon the family will be in a new house, Michael will have his new business, and Arleta will be working in the security business.  All the kids are in school.  Arleta was right… they are all staying strong!

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