One student that I have been working with since the beginning of this school year has made unbelievable strides both as a student and as a teen mom of a 6 month old little girl. This student was referred to Project HELP through her campus counselor. Project HELP then conferred.
The student stated that she needed help with transportation because she was walking almost 2 miles every morning with her baby to the nearest bus stop. After arriving at the bus stop it would take her another 1½ hours to actually arrive at school. She was concerned with her frequent tardiness and the fact that she had to walk so far with her baby. At the end of each day she was taking the same route home, only by the time she arrived at her final bus stop it was dark outside and she still had a long walk home from that point. Upon arriving home she still had to feed and care for her baby and then settle in to study. This student rarely missed school and managed to keep her grades up; she has stated on many occasions that school is very important to her and that she will graduate.
During my time spent with this student I was able to learn more about what this student needed to be successful. We spent a lot of time setting goals and discussing how she can achieve each goal. Additionally, I learned more about her life story, which was filled by pain and sadness. This student was very worried about her ability to parent her daughter in a loving way, because she did not have a mom that loved and cared for her. This student grew up in a house filled with drugs and chaos and she recounted many memories involving Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement. She did say that she felt close to her dad and remembered with tears what it was like for her when he was sent to prison. She remembered how alone she felt at the age of 13 with no one to rely on..
Every day this year, Ms. Rivera* and her son left their residence with all of their possessions by 6:00am. This was because their “residence” was a different church each week. On school days, they rode the public bus to her son’s elementary school where she helped him get settled into his day. Then Ms. Rivera continued her day of traveling by bus to employment interviews, medical appointments or social service agencies; frequently her stops required multiple transfers. At 2:45 she would pick up her son and they’d ride the bus so as to arrive at the assigned church by the evening curfew. On weekends they would travel via Capital Metro to the public library, a clothes closet, or perhaps a food bank.
On the last day that Ms. Rivera came by Project HELP to pick up a bus pass provided by CapCityKids, she was elated because she was about to catch a bus to her new job. Now that she was employed, her son was eligible for an afterschool childcare program and she could apply for transitional housing. Ms. Rivera wants you to know that she is very grateful for the assistance - CapCityKids bus passes made a difference!
*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality
Program Specialist with Project HELP