Chrystan and Aphrodite’s Story

August 14, 2023
Aphrodite and her daughter Chrystan now

Aphrodite and her daughter Chrystan now

Chrystan was one of our youngest residents in the late 90s when she and her mother Aphrodite came to our family shelter then known as West End Intergenerational Residence.

Today, Chrystan is 33 years-old and works at VNS Health.

She organized her fellow colleagues to donate Christmas gift bags to the formerly homeless young families at our Upper West Side site—the very spirit of paying it forward.

Chrystan and Aphrodite have contacted Homeward NYC staff over the years.

Aphrodite recalls the challenging times that brought them to Homeward NYC. The two had been living in Queens with Aphrodite’s grandparents. When the grandparents moved to Florida, Aphrodite chose to stay in New York.

But the young mother was swindled out of her savings while trying to secure a place to live. After a brief and turbulent stay with a friend who betrayed their trust, Aphrodite and her young daughter ended up in a temporary shelter in the Bronx one weekend. Aphrodite completed her intake forms and was referred to Homeward NYC for transitional family shelter.

“The staff helped a lot. They kind of catapulted me into my current situation now that I’m a nurse. One volunteer [wrote a check] for me to take my state boards in nursing. I ended up holding on to the check—I still have it to this day.

I saved up and paid for my state boards myself. Here I am, decades later, a nurse. But I was just so overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone there.”

— Aphrodite

Aphrodite and Chrystan were residents for one year, but they’ve kept in touch in the decades since. Mother and daughter both now work in the healthcare field.

Around the holidays, Chrystan contacted Leslie McCalla, Director of Tier II Family Services, to see how she could help. Chrystan organized her 80-person team in the personal care department at VNS Health to provide pampers, toiletries and gift bags for the young families. The gifts arrived just before Christmas.

Aphrodite’s and Chrystan’s joy and energy really shine through when you speak with them. From finding a home at Homeward NYC as a child to inspiring her colleagues to contribute to the same organization years later, Chrystan’s story is a testament to the power of compassion, resilience and generosity.

Thank you, Chrystan and Aphrodite!