FUSION stops mom's downward spiral | Summer arts fundraiser Aug. 3

A furnished bedroom as seen at one of FUSION’s newest properties in Northeast Tacoma.  - Mirror file photo
A furnished bedroom as seen at one of FUSION’s newest properties in Northeast Tacoma.
— image credit: Mirror file photo

Courtesy of Karen Quinn, FUSION board member

We first met this mother during an interview for a vacancy in a unit belonging to FUSION (Friends United to Shelter the Indigent, Oppressed and Needy).

She shared the downward spiral of events that brought her to Catholic Community Services (the case managers for FUSION residences).

Previously, she had been employed at an apartment complex where she was given a unit to live in. One Friday, she left for the weekend, and upon returning to work Monday she discovered a new company had contracted with the complex. Someone was now sitting in her desk doing her job — in an instant, she lost her full-time job and housing.

As we interviewed the mother, we discovered she had been living in her vehicle since January with her young child. During the day they would find a variety of things to occupy their time and at night, the “adventure” would begin, as the child called it. The mother was in awe of the spirit of her child to look at their current housing situation as an “adventure,” a camping expedition of sorts. We pointed out that part of her child’s positive outlook was a credit to her as a mother. Her older child could not sleep in a vehicle, as she needed to complete her freshman year of school. The mother had to make the painful decision to have her older child go and live with others.

It was a great privilege to secure a FUSION unit for this family. We were able to meet this mother again with her two children and hand over the keys to her unit. Each of them was very quiet and just in awe.

When the kids saw their bedrooms, they completely lit up. They loved how their own rooms had been personalized by FUSION volunteers in anticipation of their arrival. Then we went into the kitchen and saw the birthday supplies, complete with a cake mix and decorations ... and the tears began to flow.

The previous day was the youngest child’s birthday, turning 6. Catholic Community Services was able to give the family zoo tickets to enjoy, but as the child pointed out, “That was nice, but I just wanted a place to stay.” It was a pleasure to say “Happy Birthday,” and this was “time to start a brand new adventure.”

Summer arts festival is Aug. 3

FUSION is preparing for its 18th annual summer fundraiser. This year’s event, Fantasia, will run 3 to 9 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Dumas Bay Centre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road, Federal Way.

This arts festival will attract up to 800 attendees and has become one of Federal Way’s premier annual events. The goal of this celebration is to raise awareness as well as generate funds to operate and maintain FUSION’s 16 transitional housing units in Federal Way and Northeast Tacoma. Last year’s festival raised more than $100,000.

FUSION’s mission is to break the cycle of homelessness, poverty and abuse. The hope is to successfully reintegrate families into the community through education and life-skills development while having a place to call home. FUSION units are maintained by an all-volunteer crew.

The summer arts festival on Aug. 3 will feature local artwork and artists as well as live and silent auctions. Way Scarff Ford in Auburn is donating a 2012 Ford Fusion car for silent bidding.

Shuttle and tickets

Village Green and Foundation House will shuttle festival attendees who park at either the Mormon church near 320th/Hoyt Road (47th Avenue) or the Wayside Church on 21st Avenue SW across from Lakota Middle School.

Tickets: or call (253) 941-0820.


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