Change Makers: Joyce Entremont

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Change Makers highlights the peopleof Prince William who are making a difference in our community. This month, we feature Joyce Entremont.

One of the most tireless volunteers in the Prince William community, Joyce Entremont has devoted an immeasurable amount of her time to helping those in need in our area. Her contributions shed light on the issues the homeless face, and they improve not only their lives, but also the welfare of Prince William as a whole.

How long have you lived in the Prince William area, and what do you most like about living here?

I’ve lived in Prince William for close to 50 years and in my current home for over 40. I’ve certainly seen a lot of changes over the years.

What do I like most about Prince William?

I’ve made many dear friends over the years, and I love my quiet neighborhood home. I like being far from the big city, but not too far. As Prince William has grown, we residents have gained many benefits: cultural arts venues, unique parks, plenty of opportunities and some really good restaurants. There is always something interesting to do if you are able to find the time!

How have you been involved in the community?

I’ve always been involved in the community in one capacity or another, including everything from Big Sisters, Little League, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and swim teams to volunteering with several other nonprofit organizations. I was also a member of the Red Hat Society for many years and headed up my own
chapter.

My passion and focus for the past few years has been working with the homeless folks in Prince William. I work independently though have the help of many friends, acquaintances, churches, nonprofits and social organizations that assist behind the scenes. I refer to my helpers as my Angel Cavalry! I also work in partnership with several local organizations that offer services to these folks in need.

I try to develop personal relationships with them. Navigating services available is a difficult task for many, and really getting to know the people helps me in helping them with what they actually need. I try to help with whatever their issues are so that they can have a good chance of getting back on their feet. My hope is always that they can proceed to the next chapter of their lives.

I am able to provide clothing, and I work with them to obtain eyeglasses; medical, dental and behavioral health services; addiction services; detox and residential rehab. Sometimes we have to start from scratch with things like obtaining IDs and government benefits such as disability. I’ve even had to find
reading tutors for a couple of the men.

I assist in finding jobs and housing and obtaining initial funding for moving into a room or apartment. I am able to help with furnishings and household items once they’ve been housed. I would have to say that my greatest pleasure in working with the homeless is helping individuals escape their addictions so they can go on to live a productive, healthy life. It’s a scary thing to make a decision for such a drastic change. I would not have been able to accomplish all of this without the behind-the-scenes help of my Angel Cavalry and would be nothing without their help!

I’ve maintained connections with many who have moved on with their new lives. Several have reconnected with their families, gotten better jobs and gotten married and had children. Unfortunately, not all have been successful, but there are many triumphant stories, and that is precisely what keeps me going. If I’m able to help just one more person in need, at least it will be one!

If you had to give advice to someone new to the area, what would you tell them and why?

My advice for anyone who is new to the area is simple. Jump in! Prince William is a great place to live. Not only does the area have lots to offer, but you do too.

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