Thursday, May 23, 2019 Success Stories
A Decades Long Family Promise Love Story
Childhood friends Diana and Shariff first met at age 12 and later became one another’s first love. When they eventually returned to being good friends, they made a pact: If they were both single at age 40, they’d get married.
As young adults, they lost touch when Shariff moved to Florida while Diana remained in their hometown in New York. They had an unexpected reunion when they found themselves involved in the same work project, but by then Diana and Shariff were each married with families of their own.
Still, they kept tabs on one another over the years. Their respective marriages ended, and when Diana learned her first love was single, she remembered 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 reconnect with Shariff and figured I’d see if anyone was interested in our story,” Diana recalls, noting that since she and Shariff weren’t in touch, he had no idea of her plan.
Inspired by Diana’s letter, The Steve Harvey Show invited her to Chicago to participate in an episode about first loves. Midway through the program, Shariff walked onstage, surprising the audience, and most of all, 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 when major car repairs nearly depleted their savings. Diana and Shariff knew they couldn’t afford the next month’s rent on top of their other expenses, but they discovered they earned enough at their respective jobs to disqualify them from various social services. For the first time, they worried about having a place to live.
After they reached out to Family Promise of Brevard (FL), Diana and Shariff’s worries were short-lived. Family Promise’s partnership with HUMI (Help Us Move In), 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.”
Seven months later the couple is still working with Family Promise to continue repairing their credit and budgeting properly. Their ultimate goal is to own a home.
“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.”
Want to see Diana and Shariff on The Steve Harvey Show? Check out the video clip here.