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Hello. My name is Whitney, and I have four kids all under the age of eight. My oldest daughter Kiersten is eight years old, followed by Kelcie who is six, Karter who is three, and Justin Jr. who is one. Together with my boyfriend, Justin, and his five-year-old daughter Addison, we make a family of seven. When we're not working or in school, we like to ride bikes, go to the park, attend birthday parties, and just hang out as a family. I currently attend school at Colorado State University and work for Children's Workshop in Loveland.
Things are going pretty well for us right now, but that wasn't the case a few years back.
I was married for 8 years. During that time, I had my three oldest kids and my husband was deployed twice with the Marine Corps. He had a few mental health issues and it became increasingly difficult for us to be around him with outbursts of anger and abuse. Eventually, he ended up in jail for domestic violence, and I pursued divorce to keep my family safe.
During this time, I was left with no money in the bank accounts, a house payment, and bills. I had been working a part-time job, but the money I was making there wasn't enough to cover all the expenses. Also, it was around this time that my parents had several heath setbacks, and they needed to move in with us. It was a pretty stressful time in our lives and I had to step up in ways I never had to before to help and support my family.
A few years ago, I met my boyfriend Justin. He encouraged me to go to school and pursue my degree so I can have a good foundation to provide for my kids. I decided to study Human Development and Family Studies at CSU. Right now I have a 3.9 GPA and plan to graduate Fall of 2016. After that, I will pursue my masters degree. Ultimately, I hope to teach and become a principal one day.
Initially, things were going well with school, but I became ineligible for CCAP, Colorado's Childcare Assistance Program. Without the aid of this program, and even though I was receiving a discount at the daycare where I work, I wasn't able to afford the care my kids needed while I was working and going to school. My options were limited: either quit working and pursuing my degree to watch the kids, or find some other way to pay for childcare.
Thankfully, the daycare where I work is one of the childcare providers that works with WomenGive. We pass out information on the program to people who might need the help. I saw one of those flyers and thought, “Hey, I fit this,” so I applied.
When I got my award letter this past year, I think I did a little and dance and cried a little because I was so happy! I am very thankful to receive the scholarship so I can continue pursuing my degree.
The scholarship has helped me in so many ways. It allows me to know that my kids are safely watched every day. We live paycheck to paycheck and I couldn't go to school otherwise, which means I'd be right back at square one: with no job, and no schooling, and unsure how we were going to make it.
I just want to say thank you to all the WomenGive members and supporters for helping me and my family so I can provide a better life for them in the future. We couldn't have done it without you!
Published: November 6, 2015
Categories: WomenGive Impact Story In Her Own Words
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County