Childhood Struggle Leads to Giving Back

Eric Pidgen’s tough childhood, which included staying at a women’s shelter, inspires his volunteering at House of Friendship today.

Eric Pidgen has a very special reason for volunteering with House of Friendship.

That’s because when he was only 11, he stayed in a shelter with his mom and sister when his parents were struggling in their marriage.

“It was such a shock when I was a kid – there was so much change at once. I came home from school, and there were boxes everywhere. Mom told us we had to leave.”

They ended up staying at a shelter – away from all of his friends and the life he had known. “Nobody wanted to be there,” said Eric. “It wasn’t a place you would choose to stay.”

While the shelter was well-run, it was clearly underfunded, with older, fraying carpets, and peeling paint. Worst of all, it wasn’t home. Just when things were getting better, with his family reunited, his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. She passed away two years later, when Eric was 13.

During all of these struggles, it was the kindness of others that helped Eric the most. A family friend who also worked at the shelter was always there when needed.

“She made us feel we weren’t alone.”

Today, Eric works at Nicoya. When he learned that his team at Nicoya was going to volunteer at House of Friendship, he jumped at the chance.

“I volunteer because somebody was once there for us, and now I can give back. It feels really good to make a difference.”

Posted on: September 4th, 2020

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