PAYING IT FORWARD

"If it weren't for Oasis, I don't know where I would be now. I very well could have become a victim of human trafficking, or fallen into a lifetime of drug addiction, or dead. I want to thank you for saving my life and for changing my perception of the impact that one person can make." - April

Imagine yourself, at age 15, having a toxic relationship with your mother that ultimately causes you to become perpetually homeless. Nights generally consist of sleeping outdoors wherever you can find shelter, because staying at someone's house meant the expectation that they'd take something from you in exchange. That is exactly where April Carlson (pictured left) found herself as a teenager when she came to the Oasis Teen Shelter.
April stayed at Oasis off and on for a year and a half. During that time, the Oasis program was life-changing for her and enabled her to trust others. She says that the things most people take for granted are truly the most significant. A shower. Clean clothes. Shelter. Along with ensuring their safety, Oasis is also restoring dignity to the kids who utilize their program.

At 17, April met a friend who took her to her Mother’s house. The woman took her in, gave her a room, and allowed her to pay rent by working as a nanny caring for her grandkids. She assisted April in finding the resources to get her GED which she completed. One month after her 18th birthday, she enrolled in courses to receive her Certified Nursing Assistant certification, a field she worked in for four years.
April began working at Island Hospital ten years ago as a housekeeper. She was promoted to Lead Housekeeper after nearly two years and in February 2008 she was promoted to Department Supervisor, a position she has held for the past eight years. In 2012 she was approached by one of the Nurses asking if they had any spare clothing set aside for a patient that was being discharged with nothing to leave in except a gown. She said she “thought back on Oasis and the huge impact that being given clean warm clothes had made. That such a seemingly small gesture can change a person's outlook on society and restore their dignity and outlook on their personal situation.”

She went home after speaking to the Nurse and found clothes and shoes that she took back to work and gave to the patient; This was when the Patient Pack program was born. Since its inception, it has grown notably each year and now receives funds from Soroptomist annually to purchase supplies. April makes 50 adult and child packs for patients who are seen in the Emergency Department or are in-patient.
April is now 32 years old, the proud mother of a 6 year daughter, and the wife of her best friend. They have been together for 13 years and are celebrating their 10 year wedding anniversary this summer. They are homeowners in the area and April has restored her relationship with her Mother.