“I dropped out of high school at fifteen,” she said. Nobody really cared—there’d never been a high school graduate in her family anyway and like most folks in her tiny Western Kentucky community it made sense for her to just go to work at the local manufacturing plant. The money was good, benefits were even included, and working there meant being with people she knew and cared about.
Education just wasn’t a priority, and no one really saw a need to make it one with stable employment available nearby. “Besides,” she says, “school wasn’t for me. I always felt slow. Like I wasn’t quite getting it.”
And then the horrible unexpected happened. Ten years into that stable employment, the factory closed—moved to Mexico in search of cheaper company labor—and so along with hundreds of friends and family members she was left jobless. The closest similar work was some distance away and only had second and third shifts to offer. By then she had two children, making such a commute for such irregular hours next to impossible.
Along the way she’d managed to obtain her GED and so she thought maybe she’d try college. For an entire semester she drove the twenty minutes in to a nearby community college, only to sit in the parking lot staring at classroom buildings, unable to go in. “I just didn’t think I could do it.”
She tried a new town and some job training. It didn’t work out. Again—shift work unmanageable with children at home. She applied for work. Tried school again. But the precarious balance of attempting school while having to work and single motherhood proved to be too much. Life got very difficult, very quickly.
One day, desperate and at her rope’s end, she typed, “single parent help” into the blank slot on a computer screen and clicked, “Google search.” Up popped Family Scholar House.
“I’d never been to Louisville. Knew nothing about the city. My family thought I was crazy to even think about it.” She did it anyway. Packed up her children and her life and moved to a strange city on the very slim hope that Family Scholar House could provide her the support she needed. She applied to the University of Louisville, terrified to do so. She called FSH and became an active pre-resident. She dealt with a family who just didn’t understand her decision.
And now, almost five years after that plant in Western Kentucky shut down, she is a Family Scholar House resident, a fulltime student at the University of Louisville and the mother of two children who are so very proud of their mother and the work that they have all done—together—to create a future for themselves.
She says she often wondered how in the world she’d do it. Often thought, “I can’t believe this is happening.” She says she just couldn’t get her head around the opportunity Family Scholar House offered and that there isn’t a day that goes by now that she doesn’t count her blessings.
She googled “single parent help.” And found it. And with that help came confidence to do the things she was sure she could not do.