At the age of 14, I left my mom’s house. I bounced around from friend’s couches and mom’s house and slept in parks with my boyfriend for three years. I had started an extensive drug, alcohol and stealing habit. I stayed in school just barely passing. At 17, I found out I was pregnant and I knew things had to change. I moved back in with my mom, caught up my credits in school and graduated on the honor roll in 2006.
The day after graduation I moved to an apartment with my high school sweetheart. We were 18 with a baby and clueless. During the next seven years I had four more kids and going through a revolving door of abuse and homelessness, I decided I had to leave. I did it on my own for a year until I was in a car accident. I lost my job which led to also losing my home. I had to ask my ex to take our five kids while I got back on my feet. Being without them and sleeping in my van led me back to using drugs to numb my pain. Four months later my kids were in the custody of the state. This was my wakeup call; I had to do something. I had to be there for my babies, and I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I started searching for opportunities for support since my family and friends had given up on me. One day a friend told me about the CHANCE program at Economic Security Corporation. I will never forget the phone call that changed my life. When I called about the program I was told that the class was already full. I explained to Cindy Andrews at Economic Security Corporation about my situation and how I have struggled and she said she would try to get me in the next day. I made it to class. I was still battling addiction. The third day of class I was arrested and had a felony pending. I had a 24-hour stay in jail and was released. I called Cindy and she was supportive and gave me the help and advice I needed. She let me make up the time and work I missed in class. Cindy was there for me from the beginning and saw something in me and believed in me.
After graduating from the CHANCE class I got a steady job. My family took me back in, and I was able to get a car and rent a place for my family. I took classes and achieved my EPA Universal Certification test. My kids came home to live with me. The CHANCE program offered case management that helped me with my goals and assisted me with transportation, clothes and shoes for work and food. I don’t know what else to say besides I KNOW I wouldn’t be here today without help from the CHANCE program.