Childhood sweethearts Diana and Shariff made a pact: if they were both single at age 40, they’d get married.
As young adults, they parted ways, eventually starting families of their own, Diana in New York and Shariff in Florida. After a business opportunity presented them with an unexpected reunion, they vowed to be better about keeping in touch. Years later, their respective marriages ended, and when Diana learned her first love was single, she recalled their childhood pact and wondered “What if…?”
“TV talk shows like Oprah and Steve Harvey always tell people’s stories. I thought it’d be great to see if anyone was interested in our story,” Diana recalls, noting that Shariff had no idea of her plan.
Inspired by Diana’s letter, The Steve Harvey Show invited her to participate in an episode about first loves. Midway through the program, Shariff walked onstage, surprising the audience and especially Diana! The connection was immediate, and a year later, Diana and Shariff combined families, settled in Florida, and began building a life together.
But an unforeseen emergency put a halt to their plans and nearly depleted their savings. Diana and Shariff knew they couldn’t afford the next month’s rent on top of their other expenses, but their employment income disqualified them from various social services. For the first time, they worried about not having a place to live.
Thanks to the homelessness prevention program at Family Promise of Brevard, Diana and Shariff’s worries were short-lived. Family Promise’s partnership with Help Us Move In (HUMI), a Washington state-based nonprofit that provides funding for homelessness prevention, meant the family could remain in their apartment.
“Family Promise reviewed our finances and provided rental assistance,” says Shariff. “We made a plan to figure out how to move forward.”
The couple also worked with Family Promise to repair their credit and create a budget.
“Even though it was a one-time deal, we’re so grateful for what Family Promise did for us,” says Diana. “Our lives would have taken a completely different turn.”
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Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Family Promise!