We were so pleased to hear from our student speaker, Tierra, during the recent Seattle Milk Fund Benefit Luncheon. In Tierra’s own words, here is her inspiring story.
I am a fighter! I would not have believed that about myself four years ago. But, as it turns out, I am a fighter. I have been through a lot in my life. And these obstacles have made me stronger.
Before I went back to school, I worked full-time at the mall as a security dispatcher. It was the same routine every day and I did not enjoy what I was doing.
My educational journey began in winter of 2010. I had just been laid off and figured I would go back to school. I started off at Edmonds Community College. I was on the Dean’s list every quarter—I did very well.
In the midst of my education, there was a part of me that was having a very hard time coping with the traumas of my childhood and those issues came out in addiction problems that I had. I took a medical withdrawal and got into treatment.
My daughter stayed with her grandma for three months while I got better. It was the longest we had ever been away from one another. It was so difficult. We missed each other terribly.
“I could not begin to express the gratitude that I have for the Seattle Milk Fund and their mission. My family and I look forward to interacting with this organization as the years progress and as such are dedicated to being aligned with the mission. We also look forward to volunteering for this organization in the future and hopefully, with some success in education, yearn to provide our own economic dividends in the future such that we may help another family like ourselves.” – Christopher, UW Bothell student
We recently received this note from John, now a Seattle Milk Fund alumni:
“I feel incredibly fortunate to be where I am now. After finishing high school, I spent 9 years working as a union carpenter. It was a pretty good job, and the money was good enough that it was hard to quit. I was laid off around 3 ½ years ago, and I started school mostly for something to do while I waited for business to pick up. Of course I was hoping that it would work out, but I didn’t see how we could get by without my income. Amazingly, it has all worked out, even with 2 little kids. The Seattle Milk Fund and the UW childcare assistance subsidy have paid a majority of our childcare costs. Now I’m less than two weeks away from a degree and a new career as a software engineer (and a big pay raise!). I don’t know how to thank you guys enough!”
On a windy evening in the summer of 1992, Zuhra, along with her mother, six sisters, and brother, fled their home in Kabul City, Afghanistan. The civil war had caused them to leave abruptly and find safety in a province north of Afghanistan. What she and her family thought would be a couple of months of refuge, turned into decades of living as refugees and immigrants in different cities across the globe.
Zuhra reminisces about her home, “I have memories of my neighborhood, friends, classmates and our green lawn where we would play with our cousins. I remember a huge house, a happy family, a cohesive community, our local market, a family doctor who knew how to pronounce my name and my mother’s delicious meals.”
Her father had left the family earlier and found asylum in the Netherlands. They would be apart from their father for nearly a decade. Read more.
Seattle Milk Fund is delighted to welcome Elizabeth, into the Child Care and Family Support Program, as a new grantee. Elizabeth’s education journey is one of love, inspiration and determination.
A few years ago, Elizabeth and her fiancée decided to have a baby. Having a baby changes your life, and it couldn’t have been truer for Elizabeth and her fiancée. About 10 hours after her daughter’s birth, Elizabeth noticed her daughter was having a seizure. The nurse thought it was just a fidgety newborn moving about, but her mother’s intuition and experience with her own epilepsy told her something else was going on. Elizabeth asked the nurse to check on her and they witnessed four more seizures. Her seizures had been a sign of a stroke, and two days later she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Read more.
Growing up in California, Lindsay was surrounded in her youth by neighboring children and families, her own including a mother with a junior high education, a father whose early career in the Air Force, followed by a business degree, blossomed into thirty plus years with Haagen Dazs, and five siblings, with Lindsay in the middle.
Lindsay’s hometown in Tulare County boasts being our nation’s second-leading producer of agricultural commodities. The county’s demographics are sprinkled with migrant laborers, and individuals and families facing challenges including poverty, high unemployment rates, (the highest in California), low education attainment, hunger, and California’s number one highest teen birth rate. Read more.
A parent to two boys, Jesse and Bennie, Jessica has been a single parent most of her boy’s lives. In 2005, when the boys were quite young, Jessica found herself in an unhealthy relationship with their father. Bullied to the point her self-esteem hit bottom, Jessica attempted to leave the relationship, but was threatened with statements like “your kids will hate you” or even worse, “I will take the children away”.
At the 2013 SMF Annual Lunch, Jessica shared that “having those types of things told to me over and over was very painful”. She knew she needed to look at their future and make serious changes. She realized that even if her kids did end up hating her, it was better they grew up safe and well and that she had to keep fighting and moving forward. Read more.
In recent years Jennifer Wilson experienced some of her most enlightening moments.
Struggling to balance motherhood, full-time student demands and volunteerism, Jennifer a new mother, learned the true meaning of being busy. She admits ‘never before [feeling] so thoroughly fulfilled’ and considers herself ‘the lucky recipient of ample kindnesses from loved ones and strangers. Believing it was only through the help of generous benefactors, Jennifer found a foothold in a tumultuous frenzy of obligations and responsibilities that made up her daily routine. Read more.
Stephanie and Lucas’s journey overflows with triumph. Stephanie’s story, a story of many single moms, is also often the story of Seattle Milk Fund recipients’ lives; a story where life throws a few curve balls and mothers like Stephanie do what needs to be done to make ends meet.
For Stephanie, life’s curve balls included moments of joblessness, heartbreak, health issues, school challenges for her young son, fears of homelessness, and so much vulnerability, that at times Stephanie wanted to give up.
And instead, she persevered. A single mom of a young boy, Stephanie had planned to return to school and get her nursing degree for quite some time; and although together, she and Lucas experienced enough challenges for one single mom to want to throw in a towel, she never did. Read more.