This page will contain stories about our clients and their experiences visiting Harvest House, and will be refreshed from time to time.  All names have been changed and some details of their stories might be altered to ensure privacy.

The Robins leave the nest:

The Robins’ moved to Tulsa from Arkansas in the 1990s.  This middle aged couple left their family home to get further schooling in Tulsa and planned either go to work for a local school or church or return to their home town in Arkansas to find work.  After completing school there were no jobs to be found so they soon fell deeply into arrears on their school debt and moved into Section 8 housing.  It was not too long before they learned the ropes of using ‘the system’ to meet their food, clothing and out-of-pocket expense needs.

When the Robins’ first came onto Harvest House in about 2004 they were not making any effort to find independent work nor improve themselves in any discernible way.  They were both outgoing, kind-hearted people who would help a stranger in a moment’s notice if they had means to do so.  But there was no interest in doing the things they would need to do to become self-sustaining.  They were just using the system to sustain themselves.

Every time they visited Harvest House the interviewers would challenge them in some way to make progress toward self-improvement.  Maybe it was just to help a friend or neighbor.  Maybe it would be to find part-time work to help reduce their indebtedness.  Sometimes it would be to take a course to improve job skills and seek employment.  Always the question was asked ‘what are you doing to become more self-sufficient and how can we help you?’

Eventually we noticed that they began to help others more and more often.  They told us they liked to see us helping people and they wanted to do the same thing themselves.  They found they could get lots of bus tokens from other agencies and they began to use them to help handicapped and needy people get where they needed to go.  It was just a few years before their local church gave them a van, which they promptly put to use giving people rides wherever the needed to go.

Over the years we saw increasing efforts toward self-improvement.  Then there would be a setback, perhaps due to health problems or family emergencies.  They always returned and each time brought a friend or family member to introduce to Harvest House.  The couple both filed for disability and eventually were granted disability payments by the state of Oklahoma.  But still they could not make it financially.  Their combined disability income was not sufficient to live on because they no longer qualified for Section 8 housing or for food stamps.  We explained to them that they were entitled to work a limited number of hours as long as they could find suitable part-time employment.  And they eventually did find some work with limited hours and limited physical demands.

We noticed them coming in less frequently until eventually they were able to make it on their own financially.  They are doing well now, working as they can and paying their own way.  There is a new pride in self-sufficiency that results in a much more positive demeanor in both of the Robins’. They have not returned to Harvest House for over 18 months.  They are a success story of sorts, and just one of the many stories of our clients at Harvest House.