This story comes courtesy of Kevin Dean, with Hope House. Names and images have been changed to protect privacy.
When Karla speaks of her old neighborhood, she talks about stray bullets hitting her apartment.
She remembers vividly the drug deals going on outside of her apartment and her children suddenly being awakened by late-night outdoor brawls.
Karla knew she could not let her children play outside because of the potential dangers.
Not only was the outside of the apartment a problem, but the inside had issues, too. Karla remembers there were gaping holes in the floors and other areas that desperately needed repairs.
With both inside and outside presenting troubles and dangers, daily living was a struggle for the family. But that changed when Karla made a connection with a one of United Way’s network of care nonprofit agency partners.
Today, Karla is part of Hope House’s tenant-based rental assistance program. She lives in a three-bedroom house in a different part of town.
“It’s quiet here and I can let my kids go out in the yard and play,” Karla says. “I couldn’t do that before.”
The fears of drugs, violence and gunfire at night are no longer an issue for the family. In addition to establishing a better living situation, Karla also decided to get her General Equivalency Degree (GED) through the agency. With the urging of her children’s father and agency staff, Karla decided to pursue her GED to further her career.
“Everyone kept telling me that I needed to get back in school so that I could have a better chance at life and have more for my kids,” she said. “When I first started back, I didn’t want to do it at all. I hated math and it was always a struggle. I didn’t think I would ever be able to do it.”
The agency staff members were patient and took the necessary time to help her change her attitude about the subject, helping her stay focused on obtaining the GED.
“One day, Karla had a breakthrough moment with her math work and she was beaming,” said the agency counselor. “You could see the excitement all over her face. She started bragging about her progress and was the happiest I had ever seen her,” the counselor said.
After a few weeks of progress, Karla found herself learning and growing more confident in her schoolwork. She says that because of her time working with the agency, she now has a chance of transforming her life and achieving even more.
Thanks for your support of United Way, Karla and other people across our community have a better chance for success in school and are on a career path for greater self-sufficiency.