Family Ties and Resilience Define 2024 Families of Distinction Honorees

Family Ties and Resilience Define 2024 Families of Distinction Honorees

When their mother passed away in November 2022, the closeknit Farrior Harris family of Urbana was suddenly faced with a world lacking their main and only support. This strong team of siblings had already been in the RPC’s Permanent Supportive Housing program under the care of their mother, but began working with their new case manager, Housing Stabilization Case Manager Nicole Martin, in December 2022. Since the time of their mother’s passing, older brother Antrone has taken over as the head of household living with his siblings, which includes adult and minor children.

The family, in their new structure, was permitted to continue the Permanent Supportive Housing program and received a subsidy towards rent and power bill assistance. Antrone was tasked with suddenly being responsible for paying all the bills and managing the home along with his sister, taking on his new role in stride and becoming an expert at paying bills on time every month.

During this trying time, Antrone could have easily chosen to throw in the towel, but instead rose to the challenge. Not only does he attend GED classes, but he also meets regularly with Nicole to focus on assisting his family to grow in self-sufficiency. If these accomplishments weren’t enough, Antrone graduated from the 2023 University of Illinois Odyssey Project of Illinois (two of his poems written for the Project are included here).

Meanwhile, Antrone’s sister Jazmin now serves as matriarch of the family and has taken on a big role to assist. She got her first job following the passing of her mother and attends GED classes, all while assisting with household tasks and expenses. Inspired by his siblings, brother Deandre has also started classes at the Urbana Adult Ed GED program.

This family was extremely close with their mother, and in response to an incredibly difficult time, the siblings have joined together to take on these challenges as a team. The Harris siblings remain close with each other and want to continue to live together as a family. The drive and positive attitude of these young adults not only inspire each other but will continue to positively influence all who hear their powerful story of overcoming loss with resilience.

The Harris family’s hard work and perseverance makes them excellent representatives of the Families of Distinction program. They were one of 19 individuals or families honored at the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies (IACAA) Annual Learning Conference in April. The honor recognizes a family or individual who has overcome great personal and social obstacles in their pursuit of self-sufficiency with the assistance of a Community Action Agency. We congratulate them on the honor and look forward to seeing what the future brings them.

Poems by Antrone Harris

City Life
Sirens echoing from a mile away.
Buildings that nearly touch the sky.
Strong winds I feel walking down the sidewalk.

Time Waits On No One
On a Saturday night I called myself going out for something to eat
I rumbled through various newspapers and such and found a coupon. How neat!
I eventually caught a bus to get to my destination for my midnight feast.
After obtaining said meal, I waited on another bus to take me back home.
And I wait and I wait and I wait.
Until I realized that there wasn’t another one coming.
There was a saying my mom once told me, what was it again? Oh yeah
Time waits on no one!