Scheduling breakfast with Jaclyn was not easy. Jaclyn has a very busy schedule being a single mom of three young children and working a full-time job. Despite the trouble in setting this breakfast up, it was well worth the wait. I have known Jaclyn for the past four years. During this time, I have seen Jaclyn change tremendously for the better.
Jaclyn came to the Center pregnant. She was tired and scared. She already had two children and no place to live. Her children’s father was abusive at his worst and completely unengaged at his best.
Before this point, Jaclyn had had a difficult life. As a child, her mom repeatedly told her she was stupid and her father entered and left her life. The family moved multiple times constantly facing eviction and Jaclyn regularly went to bed hungry. By the time she was 18, Jaclyn was in love with the first male that showed her affection. Shortly thereafter, she became pregnant. After her second baby, her boyfriend started to become distant and eventually violent. I met Jaclyn a few months later when she was pregnant for the third time.
Jaclyn initially came to the Center looking for food. She then became a regular volunteer. The Center also worked with Jaclyn and referred her to a therapist to address some longstanding co-dependency and other issues. Jaclyn found the courage to leave her abusive boyfriend and continued to work on problems stemming from her childhood. For the first time, Jaclyn also started to think about the future. In the meantime, Jaclyn worked multiple jobs at one time to put food on the table and a roof over her young family’s head. Jaclyn also somehow found the time to study and earn her GED.
Today Jaclyn says life is good. Her children are happy and healthy. She talks about marriage but only if the right person comes along. She has a good paying job and is actively involved her children’s school. Jaclyn is busy but tells me as she finishes her coffee that she loves her life.