SUCCESS STORY-THE SALVATION ARMY OF LAKELAND & WEST POLK COUNTY
Ava Santiago is a 4-year-old blast of joy and energy. She loves to sing, dance and is usually the first to welcome new students to her class.
But Ava has not always been such a gregarious child.
Most of Ava’s life was filed with instability and homelessness after her family was evicted from their home. After the eviction, Ava, along with her mother, Kristi Shaffer, and her two siblings, bounced from place to place. They stayed with friends, family members, at hotels and shelters.
Only two years old at the time, Ava sensed the uncertainty of her family’s future and became withdrawn. So her mother sought out help.
The Salvation Army of Lakeland & West Polk County’s HALO Child Enrichment Center provides a safe, structured learning environment for children thanks to funds from United Way of Central Florida.