Faces of Success: Erika Murphy
There’s a thought that the darkest hours are just before the dawn of a new day. Erika Murphy has a deeper appreciation for the new day. Even in darkness, hope provided a guiding light for Murphy.
“I was determined to find a place for us; I knew it was just a matter of buckling down and staying on it,” said Murphy.
Murphy’s two year journey through The Salvation Army Family Resource Center helped her and her family in ways she never could have imagined.
“If it weren’t for United Way and The Salvation Army, I’m not sure I’d be here. This opportunity meant the world to me and my family.”
The Salvation Army Family Resource Center is one of 18 Family Resource Centers operated by United Way in partnership with community organizations throughout Nashville. Each facility is tailored based on specific needs of residents in the neighborhood where they are located. The centers have served close to 158,000 clients over the past five years.
Murphy first arrived at the Family Resource Center in 2014. At the time, housing was her biggest need. Murphy addressed this need through the Transitional Housing program, funded by United Way. The program provides temporary housing for single women — like Murphy — and their children.
“I felt a sense of relief when we first arrived here,” she said. “The outlook on the future for me and my kids was so much brighter.”
That outlook continued to evolve, thanks to multiple programs that were available at this particular location. Some helped with job skills training, parenting and recognizing healthy relationships. Others — like the United Way funded Healthy Kitchens program and Emergency Food Bank program — helped address her family’s basic needs.
“I found that utilizing all the available resources was the key to becoming more successful,” said Murphy. “They give you all the tools you need; it’s up to you to do the work.”
While Murphy worked to improve her employment situation and also searched for a permanent home for her family, her sons enrolled in United Way’s SPARK™ (Sport-Play-Active-Recreation-for-Kids) after-school program, funded by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation. The program was first introduced in 2015 with a goal of improving the health of children through structured physical activity and nutrition. Murphy’s children couldn’t wait for their daily dose of the SPARK™ after-school program.
“They absolutely loved it; there wasn’t a day where they didn’t want to go and participate.”
The Salvation Army Family Resource Center has helped Murphy find a new job and new home for her family. She credits her case management worker, as well as the partnership between United Way and The Salvation Army for these recent successes.
“I think highly of organizations like United Way who partner with The Salvation Army,” said Murphy. “They know they have a location that can house individuals and families. They are also able to determine which resources are necessary at each facility. This prevents clients from running all over town to address multiple needs.”
United Way and The Salvation Army were there to help Murphy arrive at the dawn of a new day. The power of transformative partnerships has the innate ability to drive community condition change and improve the lives of Nashville’s neighbors in need.