Nov 06A Closer Look at Allison and Mark’s Story
At this year’s Power of Home Event, we introduced you to Allison and Mark, Mercy Housing Northwest residents who moved to Mercy Othello Plaza when it opened in 2017. They have since been very active residents, not only attending the majority of community events and service programs offered by Mercy Housing, but also volunteering to help. They envisioned living in a close-knit community, where neighbors rely on each other and were thankful to have found such a community at Mercy Housing. You can even say that they were a big part of building this sense of community for their neighbors. They are always willing to meet and get to know their neighbors, and even go out of their way to help the Resident Services staff spread the word about upcoming activities and programs with other residents. “Allison and Mark are always the first to respond to any activities or workshops we host. They are the leaders in this community and always advocate for their fellow residents. They truly care about those in their community,” says Ibado, Mercy Othello Plaza’s Resident Services Coordinator.
When the couple learned of what happened with George Floyd’s death earlier this year, they took initiative to set up a memorial in the apartment lobby, which became a healing wall for residents to share their thoughts. This memorial provided residents with an outlet for their voices to be heard. Allison and Mark were overwhelmed with the number of residents who contributed words and images to the memorial wall, from young kids to seniors.
“It takes togetherness to move a mountain. When you’re together you’re able to do more,” says Mark.
Before COVID-19, Allison and Mark taught fellow residents cooking classes every two weeks in the Community Room. They enjoyed sharing meals with other residents, as it gave them an opportunity to get to know other neighbors in their community. Through this experience, “we became a big family,” says Allison. Since COVID-19 began, they have not been able to continue their cooking classes, but it has not stopped them from staying active and helping their neighbors.
Mark and Allison continue to find ways to volunteer through the bi-weekly grab-and-go food pantry that offers healthy foods to residents in the onsite Community Room. The couple help with instructing residents through the food pantry process and distributing masks and PPE for those who need it. When healthcare partners, ICHS, worked with Mercy Housing to teach residents about how to use telehealth medicine, Allison and Mark collaborated with the Resident Services Coordinator to create a fun video clip to share with residents about how easy it is to use telehealth services. Whatever activity presents itself, Allison and Mark are always willing to participate. Allison has even asked the Resident Services Coordinator if she can teach virtual classes, like how to crochet, for other residents during this time of social distancing.
We are proud to share that Allison was one of the recipients of Mercy Housing’s 2020 EPIC Educational Support Grant for $2,500. She enrolled in college after moving to Mercy Housing and is the first of 11 siblings to attend college. Her dream is to get her bachelor’s degree in Social and Human Services, with a plan to pursue her master’s degree as well. Allison is using this grant to support her educational pursuits. A big congratulations to Allison!
In very recent news, Mark and Allison made the tough decision to move so that they can be closer to the hospital where Mark goes, due to a major health concern. The couple have expressed that Mercy Othello Plaza will always be their home, despite their move. They plan to continue being active in the Othello community, volunteer with resident programs, and stay involved as much as possible. The Mercy Housing Northwest community wishes Allison and Mark well and are excited to see more of what’s to come as they continue to be advocates and leaders in our community.
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