My name is Latonya. I have four children – a 21-year old son and three daughters aged 18, 7 and 2. Last year was a very hard year for my family. I was out of work, and we were homeless.
Not knowing where you’re going to be staying each night makes everything more difficult. Constantly on the move, staying with friends and family, moving all the time with my little girls – we lost a lot of things. Every house had different rules. Things were terrible, just terrible. Getting Destiny, my first grader, to school every day just was not always possible. The worst part was the feeling that I couldn’t provide. I didn’t really know what the next step was. We were living in this limbo – just trying to get by and survive day to day. This went on for a full year.
One day I got connected to a program through the school, called Show Up, Stand Out, because they noticed how many days Destiny had missed from class. I was skeptical at first, but then I met Ms. Bullock, the Show Up, Stand Out family worker from Collaborative Solutions for Communities, and she was someone who understood me. She sat down with me at the school and explained that she wasn’t Child Protective Services, she was my new advocate. I told her everything – about our family being homeless, about needing to get a steady job and needing a way to feel steady again. Ms. Bullock visited me at home, and we began to meet and talk regularly on the phone – sometimes twice or three times a week.
My daughter is extremely bright. Even though she’d been missing lots of class, her grades were very high, and after seeing that and talking to me, Ms. Bullock was determined to fight for us. She explained to the principals about our situation and helped me get the opportunity to turn things around on my own.
She helped me come up with a plan to get a stable place to live – which is where I am now, living with my uncle and paying rent; and she helped me put my work history together in a resume that helped me get my new job.
Destiny doesn’t have a problem with attendance this year, and she’s doing really well in school. I would definitely tell other parents to go to Show Up, Stand Out and learn more about it. The people there – like Ms. Bullock – are just good people, and the support they offer really works. I feel very thankful to have Ms. Bullock as my advocate and my friend.