The Cedano Family Thrives at Brother Mathias Place

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 12:15 am by Nancy Kleinfeld

When you first walk into Katherine’s apartment, you see a very neat, clean, and tidy place.  You look over in the room and see an awe-inspiring fish tank, with several different fresh water fish and a turtle named Pooley.  Katherine has two children. Her daughter Amber is 10 years old, and her son Jaden is 4.  When you ask Katherine about the fish and who named them, she responds “My children, of course.  Their names are  Thunder, Shirley, and Oscar”.  When you hear Katherine speak, you realize that the fish tank is a symbol of hope for all life, including her own.  Every life deserves love, faith, and hope. 

Katherine came to know about Camillus House’s Brother Mathias Place permanent housing program about 7 years ago.  She was 17 years old then and it wasn’t all rosy for Katherine before Camillus House. She came here from Panama to make a better life for her young daughter.  But with no family in South Florida, she eventually had to live in a shelter.  Katherine knew she had to work hard to get a roof over their heads.   She wanted to make a life for herself and for her family, and times were not easy.  They were, in fact, so difficult that when she talks about the past, tears come to her sparkling eyes.  You see the pain behind her tears, partially masking a beautiful and sweet soul.  

Now, because of the support of Camillus House, she is able to provide for her family.  She is a good mother, and her focus is always to provide the best for her family.  As Pooley swims around – almost like he is listening to our conversation – one hears Katherine describe how she prayed to God all the time for a miracle to change her life.  The hope and support Camillus House provided has given her that chance. 

Her Residential Coordinator, Lathawn Haggins, met Katherine three years ago.  When they sit and talk, they say they feel like sisters.  You can feel the connection from the moment you see them together.  Lathawn, who is also a single working mother, has guided and helped Katherine. 

Today, Katherine is 24 years old, very independent, and a strong young lady. She is proud to be working from home so she can dedicate as much of her time as possible to her children. Camillus House has helped Katherine earn her High School Diploma and has assisted her with child care and day care.  Conscientious about her job as a customer service agent for a dental company, she loves what she does.  Her desk is set up with inspirational sayings and charts, and she loves helping people.  She is very organized and wants to stay focused on her job so she can progress within her company.  However, her main focus remains raising good children.  She helps them with their homework, and spends time with them going to church, going bowling, and taking them to the beach.  She participates in life skills programs, camps, and any other programs that help her progress.  In fact, according to Lathawn Haggins, Katherine is learning how to budget and save money.  She exudes confidence, which she says comes from Camillus House making her feel like she has a support system, like a family.  This is her family and she thanks God every day for these blessings.

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