Like all parents, Amberlee wanted to keep her family safe when COVID hit. But when she unexpectedly faced unemployment and homelessness, “security” took on new meaning.
Amberlee and her children were surprised to learn their apartment building was scheduled for demolition. Around the same time, Amberlee was in an auto accident that totaled her car. In a matter of weeks, she found herself facing homelessness and unemployment.
“It was a series of unfortunate events,” Amberlee says, but she wasn’t deterred. “I don’t really look at it in a negative way. I knew at the time that I just needed the chance to start over.”
She got that change at Family Promise of Hall County in Oakwood, GA. Through Family Promise, Amberlee found a new job and began saving money. Family Promise also facilitated a car donation and helped the family move into transitional housing. Amberlee continued to work hard and budget, and before long, the family settled into their own home.
Throughout the health pandemic, the family masked up like the rest of the world. But Amberlee noticed the face masks irritated her children’s skin. Through conversations with other moms, she learned many people were experiencing the same issue. Ever entrepreneurial in spirit (Amberlee had experimented with creative small-scale business ventures in the past), she decided to develop a soap that was delicate enough for her family’s skin but strong enough to effectively clean their masks.
That’s when she says her “business side” kicked in.
Although employed, Amberlee dreamed of starting a business to provide security for her family. She researched inventory sources and product development for her mask cleanser, and working with the Small Business Association, Heda Cosmetics was born. One of Amberlee’s first big orders for her Pure Face Mask Cleanser came from a Family Promise volunteer.
As COVID vaccinations became available and the demand for face masks decreased, Amberlee adjusted her business plan to include a line of cleansing products for delicate laundry items. Amberlee has been operating the business from her home, fully aware she may need more space if Heda Cosmetics continues to grow. She’ll eventually have that extra space – she recently purchased land and plans to build a home for her family, which now includes her fiancé and his three children.
Reflecting on her time at Family Promise, Amberlee says, “Family Promise has been very supportive, not just about my business, but overall. They helped me strengthen my faith in myself. You can easily let all your failures overcome you, but you can also decide to make a change. Family Promise gave me the opportunity and the time to make that change.”
This year, thousands of families like Amberlee’s faced life-altering challenges. Their situations were unique, but they had one thing in common: Family Promise. Family Promise Affiliates across the country provided families in need with food, shelter, job search assistance, and access to critical resources. But we couldn’t have done it without the support of people like you.