The Love of a Family
The love between 12-year-old Heaven and her father Solomon is palpable. The pair exchange inside jokes and tease one another constantly—and Heaven, who’s almost as tall as Dad now, knows exactly where to nestle herself in his arms for a hug. Solomon, who has a degenerative eye condition that has left him completely blind and unable to work, depends quite a bit on his daughter to help with everyday tasks.
“She started to pick up Braille at two or three years old when I was learning it,” Solomon says.
Noticing her thirst for learning at a young age, Solomon has poured every dollar and every ounce of energy he has into ensuring that Heaven gets a fair chance at success.
The two arrived at VOA-GNY’s Regent Family Residence early last year after escaping an abusive family situation down south.
The staff at The Regent connected Solomon with the Lighthouse Guild, Access-a-Ride, and other supportive services for the visually impaired that helped him get around the city and receive proper care. VOA-GNY made sure that Heaven received a backpack full of school supplies this summer through Operation Backpack®. After school, she was able to pursue her passions for drawing and painting at Rutgers Presbyterian Church Community Programs, a dedicated partner of VOA-GNY’s that offers art classes to children at The Regent and the Bronx Early Learning Center. At the end of the school year, Heaven was awarded the New York State Attorney General’s Triple C award for “Commitment, Character, and Courage.”
“It validates everything we’ve been through,” says Solomon, bursting with pride for his daughter, who is now a high-achieving sixth grader at Wadleigh Secondary School for The Performing & Visual Arts. “The schooling she is receiving in New York is a golden opportunity for her.”
After a nine-month stay at The Regent, Heaven and Solomon secured an apartment through the help of VOA-GNY’s housing specialists. Heaven says she misses her friends at The Regent, but enjoys having more space in their new home where she plays the trumpet, makes claymation movies, and practices her science experiments; she’d love to be a science teacher some day.
“I really want to thank The Regent for helping my father and I when we were in need,
Heaven says. “They opened up to us, so some day I hope that I can repay them for what they did.”