Tagged family

Heidi in greenhouse“2017 was overall a defining year for me as an adult. One of the most impactful experiences was falling in love, and then having my heart broken. I realized I’m capable of so much more and I want to pursue my passions relentlessly.
For 2018 I’ve decided to be kind to myself and hold my family close. I’m grateful for all the struggles and pain I’ve experienced. I have come out stronger and more confident in who I am and what I want in this life.” – Heidi, Spokane
Photo by Grace Townsend

Nicole with her family“It really is like walking up a path, and never quite getting to the top… Never quite being able to reach your goal. You can see it, and things do get easier as the path goes up… but it’s a real struggle. We’re just going to keep going and hope for the best, and keep our eye on that goal.” -Nicole, Spokane


This week we’re featuring local individuals from the upcoming documentary “A Walk Through Poverty” created by Rogue Heart Media, Inc. in partnership with Spokane’s SNAP and John J. Hemmingson Philanthropy. You’re invited to the premiere public screening this Saturday at Gonzaga. See event details here.

Tori leaning against brick building“My sister who passed, she always had a saying and she had it tattooed on her arm, and after she passed, a lot of people here got that tattoo. It’s just, ‘Make memories and always wear your smile’ was her thing. She faced a lot of illness, so she always made a point to make memories and smile… We didn’t expect it, it was a brain aneurism, anyhow, she got a settlement for a surgery and she wanted to treat me and my mom and her friends, so we went to Vegas, we went to concerts, we did all this stuff, ironically right before she passed. So we made a lot of memories, and she was always talking about memories and to smile because with the surgery, they didn’t know she’d talk, smile, eat, any of that, but she pulled through and she was able to, so she smiled all the time.” – Tori, Spokane

Photo: Jessica Morgan

Jasmina by a lawn sprinkler

“Oh man, my happiest memory to date is when I went back to Bosnia to surprise my family. My sister and I had gone without telling any of our family we were coming. We have lots of family from both our parents’ side still living over there. My dad’s family celebrates St. Nicholas (Nikola) on December 19th. We thought it would be great if we came on that day to surprise them. We tried so hard not to tell anybody or have them figure it out. That morning we left one town to get to the town where they lived. We got there and climbed up the stairs to where my two aunts, and uncle where preparing food for the celebration. My sister knocked on the door and we barged in and surprised them. Everyone was speechless and couldn’t talk for a few seconds before we started hugging and kissing and one of my aunts kept repeating, ‘Are you guys crazy?? Are you crazy??’ (I caught the whole thing on video too.) It was so exhilarating leading up to the surprise and then the moment it happened my heart was pounding so much and my happiness was over the roof. Living far away from them has made me appreciate their role in my life and the little moments we spent together were so much more precious. It also makes me appreciate the sacrifice my parents made by moving to America with their family to give them a better life and more opportunity.” – Jasmina, Spokane

Photo by Clare Pursch

Ashley and father, Chris

“I used to be one of those teenagers who just didn’t care about anything. I went out and did bad things and I hated everyone. On top of that, I used to think that no one loved me and that no one ever would. I was in a deep dark place and had no idea how to get out.

“It’s funny, ’cause the first time I remember meeting Katie (my dad’s wife) and kind of re-meeting my dad, I came down to be in their wedding. At first I wanted nothing to do with either of them. I mean, my dad had basically abandoned me, and I was still trying to get over it.

“It took me less than a day to see that my dad had changed, and Katie just had something about her that drew me in. They both had this kind of light to them, and I didn’t know how to take it.” – Ashley, Spokane

Click here to read Ashley’s story on UGM’s blog.


“Oh my gosh, I called every family member I knew, because change for an addict is scary. I would walk to the fence and call my papa who raised me, and I told him, ‘What should I do?’ He said, just take that step, and I took that step and here I am.” -Debbie, Crisis Shelter resident


“They said, ‘We love you. We can’t see you keep doing this. You know, you’re going to end up in the grave.’ And my wife…we’ve been married 25 years, she kept hanging on, hoping for the man she married to come back.” – Steve, Men’s Recovery