We love sharing stories from the parents of the children we serve. In today’s blog we share the story of a struggling Grimsley parent.
Antoinette is a ray of sunshine. Her voice exudes joyfulness and laughter. You would never know the struggles she has faced with her three children until you start asking her questions. Antoinette currently has a grown son, a daughter in 11th grade at Grimsley and a seven-year-old, whom she affectionately refers to as “her baby.” She is a single parent. And her journey has not been easy. At one point when she could not find work, she even found herself homeless for a year.
She now works for a home healthcare company, going into the homes of patients and helping them with their various needs. She sees many people with serious problems and actually counts herself lucky. Antoinette has not only found herself a job, she has found herself a career.
“I’m in the process of getting the internet at my house so I can take the GED and then go for my CNA. Then, the goal is to graduate to RN.” She tells us she is embarrassed that she still has to get her GED but the simple fact is that she has had to put herself on hold to make sure her little people were okay. She had to choose a job over school many years ago and now she is trying to make up for lost time. What she really wants? “A mortgage! I want to own my own home!” Antoinette knows it will take hard work, but Antoinette is not afraid of a little hard work.
“I don’t regret what I have had to do. I wouldn’t change it if I could. It’s life. You have to deal with the cards you are dealt…especially when you have little people. Everyone has got their own story and everyone has got their own situation.”
The guidance counselor at Grimsley told her about the pantries that were available. “It’s so nice to use the clothing pantry. I also get coats for my children to stay warm in the winter. This has been a lifesaver for me. It’s priceless.” When we asked her what she gets excited about finding at the pantries, she laughed and told us, “When you’re a parent? It’s what makes your kid smile that makes you smile.” Antoinette told us that her trips to the food pantry last her about a month.
Perhaps the most important thing that Antoinette told us was at the end of her interview. A good reminder for everyone, regardless of his or her place in life.
“You’re not a parent if you can’t make sacrifices for your children. I’ve gone without many times to make sure my children are okay. These pantries help my food stamps go further. You may not realize that many people have to swallow their pride to come to the pantries in order to help their children. Don’t judge people for coming to pantries. More people need to understand that everyone has a different situation. Don’t disrespect people for their situations.”
If you would like to become a BackPack Beginnings volunteer, please visit our volunteer page. Want to host a food drive or make a donation? Your donations will allow us to serve more children in need. Thank you!
Written on 9/10/16 by Courtney Murphy.