She called to let the staff know that she was going to be late for dismissal. It was 4:40 in the afternoon, and her three children were still in LaAmistad Afterschool getting help with their assignments. This was the second of three unexpected calls for Lizbeth, the first of which came from a concerned neighbor in her apartment complex.
"She told me that my house was on fire," Lizbeth recalled, still unsettled by the memory. "She had already called 911 and I was almost home, so I got out of my car to get there quicker."
When she arrived her heart sank. The fire department was already on the scene, and her beloved chihuahua, Sofi, was stuck inside to boot.
"I was worried about my dog," she mentioned, "but mostly I was so grateful that my kids were at LaAmistad and not at home."
When she went in she saw that most of the apartment was OK — as OK as a place once brimming with thick grey smoke can be — but her entire kitchen and everything in it was beyond repair. For Lizbeth, this was yet another untimely setback in an already difficult situation.
"Ever since I've been on my own I have been trying to build my own house." she said, "I didn't know how to replace so many things."
For those with children, high-hour jobs, and limited resources, unforeseen expenses like those necessitated by fire damage are no easy burden to bear. Not to mention that she now needed to find a place to stay so as not to expose her children to the fumes lingering in the place they once called home.
One of her friends offered her and her children a place to stay while they figured out what to do, so at least that was solved, but with so many essentials up in smoke Lizbeth was still understandably worried.
That's when the third call came.
It was from Yalitza, the Parent Liaison at LaAmistad Afterschool at Peachtree Church, a few weeks after the fire. She informed Lizbeth that, thanks to an incredible act of generosity by an anonymous donor, all of her lost kitchen tools and appliances would soon be replaced.
"I [didn't] believe it," Lizbeth beamed, "I was so surprised and so happy someone would want to help us. I [didn't] know what to say."
When Lizbeth enrolled her students in LaAmistad in August of 2019, she joined a community. A community that looks out for one another at all costs, and steps up big when people need it most. LaAmistad is proud to foster the kinds of lasting interpersonal relationships that make incredible acts of kindness like this possible, but we are nothing without all of the remarkable people who make up our community.
Sofi ended up being OK. And thanks to the selflessness of one LaAmistad family member, Lizbeth, and her three children are on the way to being OK themselves. Incidents like this one remind us that for every story like Lizbeth's, countless other families are not so lucky.
This holiday season, can LaAmistad students and families count on you?