Maria, a 21 year old single mom, has been through her fair share of challenges in life. When she was just a young girl, she experienced the loss of her mother. Though she had her father who raised her until she was 16, losing her mother was life changing for her. At an early age of 16, Maria found herself pregnant. She was alone and scared for her and her baby’s future. Luckily she was able to move in with her uncle. At the age of 20, a couple years after living with her uncle, she found herself and her child in a position no one should be in: homeless.
Maria went to the Salvation Army to see if they could help her. That is when she was referred to Family Promise of Lubbock. Maria was nervous about living in a shelter and fearful that she and her child Israel, now 3 years old, would not get the help and care they needed. Those fears were subsided when she toured the Family Promise Day and Evening Centers. They were homes, and she realized that she and her son would have their very own room. According to Maria, the staff was more then welcoming to her and her son. She says, “The staff consists of people that care about you and your well-being. They want to see you succeed in life, professionally and personally.”
As soon as Maria entered the program, she became friends with the other families in the program while bonding over their similar struggles and fears. Maria was then on a search to find a full-time job to get the financial security that she so desperately needed and wanted. She worried that she would not be able to continue her classes at Texas Tech. The Case Manager advised Maria on what jobs to look for and what would best suit her at this time in her life. Maria found part-time employment which gave her the freedom to attend school and eventually got two part-time jobs working at Cracker Barrel and a catering company.
Then in November, following her success in the program, the Volunteer Coordinator asked Maria if she would share her story with one of our partners from Texas Tech. Maria jumped at the chance to share her story. This helped boost her confidence and be even prouder about how far she has come in such a short time. Because of how well Maria presented herself, she was asked once again to tell her story at the Evening of Hope Gala event, to which she again agreed.
At the event, Maria gave a moving speech about her life and her resilience. She did so well that a manager from a local car dealership, inspired by her story, approached and offered her full-time employment. Maria soon started working at the dealership and continues to work there today while continuing her education with Texas Tech.
In January 2016, Maria graduated from Family Promise of Lubbock’s program and left with enough funds to rent her very own apartment. Maria is looking forward to the future. Her eagerness, enthusiasm, and resilience will ensure she sees success in the future. We are very proud of Maria on her achievement of defeating homelessness and poverty. We wish her and her son Israel the best in their future endeavors.