Faces of Our Community Our Community.Our Cherished Guests. People struggling with poverty, homelessness and food insecurity – sometimes in extraordinarily complex life situations – looking for help. Looking for support, love and guidance. Looking to uncover ways out of the difficult situations they find themselves in. Looking for trust and trustworthiness. Looking to be treated with the dignity and respect every child of God deserves.They came to Lazarus House. GUESTDayanara Rodriguez HOUSEWARMINGKiara Sanchez UPDATEKiara Sanchez GUEST, SMALL BUSINESS OWNERKiara Sanchez FORMER GUESTJoanne Boadi CULINARY GRADUATEDeyaniri Garcia CULINARY GRADUATEMaria Montero FORMER GUESTJohn Harkings FORMER GUESTTiana FORMER GUEST, EMPLOYEEEric Webster FORMER GUEST, EMPLOYEENatividad GUESTDayanara RodriguezNEVER give up! Dayanara Rodriguez, Lazarus House Guest, speaks about her struggle – from poverty in Puerto Rico, to homelessness on the streets of Lawrence, to her success story through Lazarus House. Dayanara’s video premiered at the Sharing Our Bounty Gala on November 12, 2022. Click here to hear Dayanara tell her story. HOUSEWARMINGKiara SanchezKiara Sanchez is one of our beloved Guests who came to us in 2018. She was homeless. We have followed her story of challenge and success closely (parts 1 and 2 on this page) and today we bring you a beautiful update. This is the THIRD video we have captured about Kiara’s struggles, joys, and ways in which she has persevered. We know you’ll love these 4 minutes!! Click here to see The Advocacy Team and Carmen Vega celebrate Kiara with a housewarming gift! UPDATEKiara SanchezKiara Sanchez came to us, homeless, in 2018. She and her children began their Lazarus House journey in our Family Shelter and have since moved into Capernaum Place – our Transitional Housing Program. Your impact on her life has been nothing less than profound. We are following up on Kiara’s story here because it has now come full circle – after 4 1/2 years of being homeless, Kiara’s tide is about to turn …. Click here to hear Kiara’s Share her news and update from last fall when we first highlighted her story. Click here to visit the website of All Godly Women, Kiara’s women’s clothing store! GUEST, SMALL BUSINESS OWNERKiara SanchezKiara had her own house and a stable job; everything was working out. Kiara suddenly became a single mother. Money and time quickly ran out and Kiara became homeless. But she had fortitude, faith and a dream. Kiara Sanchez shares her journey of faith, hope and trust in God. She tells of tough circumstances, single parenting, hard work, setting goals and priorities and becoming a business owner. Click here to hear Kiara’s story! Click here to visit the website of All Godly Women, Kiara’s women’s clothing store! FORMER GUESTJoanne BoadiJoanne found herself and her two children unexpectedly homeless. After being evicted from her rented apartment due to foreclosure, Joanne couldn’t find affordable housing, so she moved to a hotel to give her time to think, to plan. But her money ran out. She was homeless until she met Almarie, our Director of Advocacy, at the Lazarus House Shelter. Joanne says “Without Lazarus House, I don’t know where I would be!” Click here to listen to the rest of her story. CULINARY GRADUATEDeyaniri GarciaIt was 2015, and Deyaniri wanted to do more with her life. She wanted a career. She wanted to support her family. She joined the Culinary Arts class at Lazarus House. She excelled. She worked hard to learn English. She landed an internship at Phillips Academy that turned into a position in their kitchen. She still works there today. She tells us that Lazarus House was the reason she has been able to realize her dreams. Deyaniri gives back to Lazarus House by being a guest chef, teaching new culinary students the skills needed to land a good job but most importantly shares her story as encouragement for the whole class to believe in themselves. Click here to watch a video featuring Deyaniri. CULINARY GRADUATEMaria MonteroMaria graduated from the Culinary Arts program at Lazarus House, completed her internship at a local pre-school, and then was offered a job at a nursing home kitchen. Since then she has also been using her baking talent and eye for creativity to serve her community with freshly baked culturally relevant sweets and treats from the Dominican Republic – through the catering business she now runs out of her own home [La Casa de los Dulces]. She states emphatically, “This program will change your life.” Click here to read her story. FORMER GUESTJohn HarkingsWhen John came to the Soup Kitchen a few years back, then addicted to heroin and living in a dark situation, he was met with understanding, kindness, acceptance, food, clothing and much needed personal items. He noted that “They [Lazarus House] are just big-hearted and warm people and it didn’t matter the condition we walked in with or why we were there.” Miguel Cruz, Community Resource manager, steered him in the direction of a recovery center, got him into a shelter, and gave him a lead on a job possibility. Today, John is sober, employed and has a bank account. He often returns to Lawrence to remind himself both of his past and the role Lazarus House played in his recovery. “We are supposed to be kind to each other,” John said. “And it’s not always there. Kindness is hard to find, but it is out there. It’s at Lazarus House.” Click here to read John’s story. FORMER GUESTTianaA new mom, and homeless at 17, Tiana’s path wasn’t easy. After bouncing around for a few years, Tiana landed at Capernaum Place, Lazarus House’s transitional Housing program. There, our advocates loved and encouraged her to believe in herself. The programs and accountability supported her and kept her on track in her desire to manage her own finances, be the best mom she could be to her young son and create good healthy habits. Tiana confidently advocated for raise at her work and successfully transitioned to her own apartment with new understanding of financial literacy, family responsibility and the joy of independence. And one day, Tiana plans to open her own salon! FORMER GUEST, EMPLOYEEEric WebsterEric tells of “growing up in rough Lawrence neighborhoods”, being bullied as a special needs student, relying on food pantries, living in shelters and specifically remembers turning to Lazarus House. Through all the struggle he has a positive outlook and heart to give back to the community that supported him; so much so he had been volunteering at Lazarus House in many of the Ministry areas until we hired him to work part-time in the Food Pantry. Liset Garcia, Food Coordinator at Lazarus House, says “He’s just the best! I am so blessed he is part of our awesome Food pantry team!” Click here to find out why Webster calls Lazarus House “my second family.” FORMER GUEST, EMPLOYEENatividadNatividad’s Story is still unfolding … Natividad found herself and her two children left homeless following a broken promise. They were welcomed into our Shelter Program with love and dignity and soon after accepted into our transitional housing program, Capernaum Place, where they live today. She was hired as an employee in the Lazarus House Soup Kitchen. Naty is filled with hope and fortitude but she credits Lazarus House with giving her the opportunity to reach for her dreams, the belief in herself that she can, and a safe place for her and her children to rest, stabilize and get the support needed to take the next steps. Naty says she wants her kids to say that “if my mom can do it, I can do it” for anything they dream. Click here to watch Natividad’s story in her own words.