Single mom opens her heart, home to struggling teen
I am feeling hopeless at 19 years old. I have been unable to find a job and support myself. I was in foster care for the past six years.
My father went to prison when I was 10 years old. My mother didn’t bother to care for my sister and I after that. I told my teacher at school how bad things were and we were taken away.
The first foster home we went to was not much better than home. I was moved again and ended up with a decent family until I turned 18. I do not know where my younger sister is. As soon as I turned 18, I was released from the foster care system and on my own. I do not feel prepared to be an adult. I have no family or friends to whom I can turn. My foster family is having financial and health problems and can no longer help me. I have nowhere else to turn. Please give me hope for a better future.
-- Young and alone Dear readers,
Over the years there have been several former foster care recipients whom we have helped. They all seem to share the same feeling of being unprepared to face the responsibility of caring for themselves successfully. Many of these children suffered abuse, neglect or terrible tragedy. Some of them do not have a safety net of family to fall back upon when they are thrust into the world at 18 years old. A large percentage of these kids end up on welfare, in homeless shelters or in prison. If they had the same support most of our children have, including a family to rely on until at least 21 years old, I think many of their futures would be brighter.
I did not want the writer of this letter to struggle alone any longer. I called to speak to her immediately. A young-sounding woman answered the phone number on the letter. She was in tears immediately when I told her who was calling. She kept repeating, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” She began to spill her whole story out in a rush, as often happens when people are in desperate situations.
I found out she was living in her very old car for the past week. She had been sharing an apartment with a woman she had met and the woman had run out on her, not paying her portion of the rent or utilities. She could not make up the difference the other woman owed, so she was evicted. She had been trying to get a better job, but none would pay her enough to support herself. She was driving a car with bad brakes and tires.
I agreed to meet her at a restaurant close by. When I arrived, I saw a young girl who did not even look old enough to drive, much less be living on her own and homeless. I felt an overwhelming sadness knowing how protective I feel over all children. The thought of this young girl living in such a dangerous way was very distressing.
After introducing myself, I told her we were going to get something to eat, knowing she probably hadn’t eaten a decent meal in quite some time. I was correct in that assumption, because when our food was set down, I noticed she was shaking and weak with hunger. She ate every bite of her food. I was relieved when I saw her restored energy and even her tears of thankfulness were better than her weak lethargy.
She talked about her parents, life in foster care and life on her own. She had lived a very tough life, yet still seemed so innocent. I worried again for her safety and that someone would take advantage of her. I knew The Time Is Now to Help would have to do our best to help this young woman.
We went over her options for work. I made several suggestions she hadn’t tried yet. I then supplied her with certificates for food, gas and clothing. I also had an idea for a housing situation. There was a single mother we had recently helped who was looking for someone to whom she could rent a room. I thought this would be a good situation for both of them, because they both needed a safe roommate. I called the single mother, who was an excellent mother and who I knew would take this young woman under her wing and guide her in a way only another caring woman could. She was thrilled I had found a young woman to live with her and said she was looking forward to the companionship as well. We met immediately.
They took to each other right away. They talked for what seemed like hours. I watched as the young woman even played with the children. I knew this was going to work out well. She was invited to move in. The young girl looked shocked, but she jumped up, hugged the woman and began to cry. I paid her first month’s room and board to help both women. I also was very concerned about the condition of her car and had the necessary repairs done for her.
I called the following week to see how things were progressing. The women were getting along very well. Even the children were calling her auntie. The single mother had put in a good word for her new boarder at her place of employment and they had agreed to hire the young woman on a trial basis. She has since proved her trustworthiness and has been hired full time. They even share a ride to and from work every day. This saves them both a lot on gas.
The young woman got in contact with her younger sister. The sister soon will be released from the foster system as well. The single mother has agreed when that time comes to offer the younger sister a place to stay while she goes to the local community college. I commended her for offering these young women the mothering they had never received as children. They were helping each other to live independently and safely.
I thank all of you for your part in helping these women. God bless them and all of you for caring and sharing. Together we make a big difference helping our fellow creations of God.
Health and happiness,
God bless everyone,
W.C./Sal Dimiceli Sr.
Please help: Make checks payable to: The Time Is Now to Help, P.O. Box 70, Pell Lake, WI 53157. The Time Is Now to Help is a federally recognized 501(c)3 charitable organization licensed in Wisconsin and Illinois. You will receive a tax-deductible, itemized thank-you receipt showing exactly what every penny of your donation provided for the poverty stricken.
A very special thank you to: The Petco Foundation, Petco Lake Geneva, East Troy High School Key Club, Tricia Harris, Genoa City Businessperson’s Association, Martin Business Group, Martin O’Brien, Golf Gifts & Gallery, Peterson Drywall, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Raymond Ring, Margarie Egger, JT Marty, Shawn and Donna McLafferty, Sandra Dietschweiler, John and Mary Smarslik, Leon and Lou Jane Koldeway, Michael Burke, Donn Kernan, Frank Huml Jr., Rudolph and Donna Zwolfer, Helen Miller, Gerald and Joyce Byers, Peggy Cardiff, June Davidsen, Gerald and Marilyn Wilkin, Terry and Judith Jahnke, Charlotte Millard, Steve and Betty Thornton, Kathleen Brooks Parker, W.C. Family Resource Center/Food Pantry volunteers, and all the God-loving volunteers of all our caring food pantries, all of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes and the businesses that allow our donation boxes. Anyone who would like a Time Is Now donation box in your business, please call (262) 249-7000.
(Read all of this week's stories from Walworth County Sunday HERE. )