The programs offered by one United Way agency became a lifeline for an Oklahoma City man in need of guidance and support.
In and out of foster homes and group homes since age 7, separated from his siblings and facing medical challenges, Desmond Davis said he arrived at age 18 at a foster center operated by the Neighborhood Services Organization, 8101 S Walker.
Davis said the agency wrapped him in the kind of supportive network that family members often provide for one another.
Stacey Ninness, Neighborhood Services Organization's executive director, said that family atmosphere is what she and other staff members work to provide because many participants need such support “so they don't feel like they are off on their own.”
The organization's mission is to provide at-risk and homeless clients with housing and life skills so they can build better futures.
Debby Hampton, president and CEO of United Way of Central Oklahoma, said NSO is typical of United Way partner agencies that depend on the community for donations.
“One point of awareness we really try to make with the public is that an individual or family may need services provided from several different nonprofit agencies,” Hampton said. “The United Way of Central Oklahoma Partner Agencies form that safety net of providers, all supported by the donations to our annual campaign.”
Hampton said, “Thus, when members of the public make their year-end donations to the United Way's annual campaign, such donationsmake certain the programs are funded at these various agencies like Neighborhood Services Organization that help people like Desmond.
“He is a testament to the difference we can make in a life when we give.”
Davis is now an assistant manager of the deli and bakery department of a grocery store and lives in a tidy home near the Plaza District. He said he hopes one day to become a professional chef.