Since 2002, Dot and John DeYoung have donated monthly to support Housing Assistance’s work, but it wasn’t until a little over six years ago, when they volunteered at our Mashpee Big Fix that they truly became invested in our work.
The Hyannis couple connected with former Housing Assistance Director of Energy and Repair Nancy Davison who invited them to visit our office to learn more about our programs. “We were very impressed when we found out all the things that you did,” said Dot.
Since then, Dot has deepened her commitment, serving as a volunteer, assisting with mailings and caring for babies at Angel House, our Hyannis shelter which serves mothers overcoming addiction and their children.
“It was nice to know that for a few hours a day, these children were in a safe place where they were getting total attention,” Dot said of the time she spent as a volunteer at Angel House.
Meanwhile John volunteered for roughly a year, assisting our Homeless Outreach team with helping individuals fill out forms to obtain housing.
While the DeYoungs have been retired for more than a decade – Dot worked in human resources while John was a software engineer – giving back has been a meaningful way to fill their time.
They do so because they understand just how difficult it can be to find decent housing that is affordable. “The Cape is a tough place for people to live,” Dot said. “If you don’t have a stable place to call home, how do you do all the other things? How do you get a job? How do you send your kids to school? How do you access medical services? How do you do any of that if you don’t know where you’re going to stay?”
As members of our Loyalty Circle, the DeYoungs have committed themselves to supporting our work and those we serve. “There’s a lot of people in need here,” John explained.
“It’s an important thing for us to do,” Dot added.
Why We Give
Inside Angel House’s play space, Dot DeYoung would hold, feed, and care for babies. It is there that she fostered a deep appreciation for the work we’re doing. “You could see these mothers were born into families of addicts or born into a family with no support,” she said.
It is why she is particularly fond of the program because it helps those most in need. The shelter’s trauma-informed approach to treating clients helps to break the cycle of addiction. It has inspired the DeYoungs to allocate half of their monthly giving to Angel House.
The remainder goes to support our other work, from homeless outreach to homeless prevention to our financial literacy classes to our energy and weatherization services for low-income households.
When John assisted our Homeless Outreach team as a volunteer, he realized that many of those we were helping were “normal people who had just fallen on hard times.”
“It is scary. Sometimes you hear stories and think ‘You know, that could have been me or that could have been one of our children,” Dot said. “It doesn’t take much for those kinds of things to happen to anyone.”