A Life Transformed: Annifreed & Erin – How a 20-year relationship continues to help student and mentor

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – Erin Welch follows a simple philosophy when it comes to helping the most vulnerable among us:

“Kids need to have joy in their life, especially if they are experiencing difficult times,” says Welch, Director of Asset Management for National Community Renaissance.

Before joining National CORE a year ago, Welch worked for The Community Builders (TCB), a Boston-based developer of affordable housing, and spent more than 20 years in the social services field. Her mentorship during those years of Annifreed Sinjour, who at age 4 lost both of her parents, is the subject of a touching short film by Life is Good, the New England apparel company known for its promotion of positive thinking.

Sinjour, now 24 and an assistant in TCB’s asset management division, credits Welch for helping to support her during those difficult early years.

“I used to have outbursts where (there would be) just anger or sadness, and I’d freak out. And they would just hold me,” she says in the video. “When it comes to Erin, and I know it sounds cliche, but it can’t really be put into words how thankful I am for her being in my life.”

Welch says she had just graduated college and was working three jobs when she met Sinjour. Despite her own hectic life, she felt compelled to spend much of her free time with the young girl whose world was in upheaval.

“We can all use help sometimes,” Welch says today. “I’m grateful that people helped me along the way to understand what Annifreed was going through. In Annifreed’s case, you go through something like this with a little kid, and you get attached.”

In fact, Welch says she is the one who has reaped the benefits all these years later.

“She’s definitely a mentor when it comes to me trying to figure out what I want to do with my life,” Sinjour says. “The biggest thing I’ve learned from Erin is not really how to be thankful and grateful, but actually how to show it.”

Steve PonTell, President and Chief Executive Officer of National CORE, said Welch’s story epitomizes the commitment of the nonprofit company and its staff to transforming lives and the communities it serves.

“Erin represents all that we are as an organization,” PonTell said. “Her work with Annifreed is indicative of the overwhelming need that exists in communities everywhere. All children deserve an opportunity for an enriched life, and without people like Erin there to help them, that opportunity too often is unrealized.”

The Life is Good video can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/Lifeisgood/videos/10154163175838522/

 

 

About National CORE

National Community Renaissance, based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit developers of affordable housing. National CORE manages nearly 9,000 affordable, senior and market-rate units in California, Arkansas, Texas and Florida. Over the past two decades, its Hope through Housing partners have provided more than 2 million hours in supportive services to enhance quality of life, including preschool, afterschool, senior wellness and upward mobility programs. For more information on both organizations, please visit www.nationalcore.org.

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