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I sort clothes at The Closet. The families who come are so thankful for the nice clothing.
I became a single parent 17 years ago when my husband got physically violent with my children and me. I was in my senior year of college and being that the violence reached a life-threatening level, I was forced to drop out and take my children to safety. Immediately after our separation, my husband emptied our bank account and our home of all our possessions. At this time, my children were ages 6, 3, 2 and 1. I found myself alone with four babies, no home, no job, no completed education, no money and nowhere to go for help and support. I was completely devastated and had absolutely no idea of how we were going to make it. We had to move every year, sometimes more than once a year, with instances of homelessness and having to sleep in our car. I often worked multiple minimum wage jobs but felt like there was never enough money and things were never going to get better because I had no way to provide a better life for my children. I felt like I was stuck and lost a lot of sleep thinking of ways to stay afloat one more month while trying to become self-sufficient.
Along the way, I was directed to PEARL's Car Care Clinic where they have helped to keep cars running and ensure people get to work, school and other necessary appointments. That was a big help, but I was also able to shop for free clothing for my family, as well as career clothes, through Pearl’s “Closet” clothing store. PEARL also offered a class this past summer called Getting Ahead in a “Just Getting By World” where participants took a look at their own situation while establishing a future plan of how to accomplish their aspirations.
I also got involved with PEARL's Focus Pearl Program. They offered scholarships to interested single parents, and provided me the opportunity to return to school through collaboration with the Precision Manufacturing program through Front Range Community College. I am currently more then halfway through the program, and have an A in class, but I would have never had this opportunity if it weren’t for PEARL's financial support. Job interviews have already begun and I am, once again, feeling hopeful and seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
I didn’t realize [as a mentor] I’d have the opportunity to grow such a wonderful friendship with my student. It was so rewarding! It was a growing experience and a project in progress.