“Before New Ground we were in real trouble. My siblings were great, and really tried to help us out but there was only so much they could do and they couldn’t do it forever. I was unemployed for months and when I was finally able to get a job it was only part time and for about $12 an hour. How can you support a family on that? I couldn’t! We were all over the place for a while, and eventually split up with me and my son staying at my sister’s and my daughter at my brother’s place. It was really awful.”
Mary and her two children became homeless when she left her husband after a decade of marriage. She had married shortly after high school and worked little once her children were born. Without a higher degree she struggled to find work during a time when the economy was difficult for almost everyone. During her first year with New Ground she improved her resume regularly, conducted an intensive job search, and managed to secure a fulltime position earning enough to afford her basic bills.
“I think one of the best things that New Ground did was force me to decide on my education, and take the step to go back to school. I said I wanted it but I just couldn’t make it happen. I think I was scared – scared of failing again. But once I decided and started classes, I did really well! I had almost straight A’s through my entire program.”
After a great deal of deliberation, Mary decided to pursue an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies. She attended college part time while working fulltime and raising her children. During the five and a half years the family was with us, Mary earned her Associate Degree, secured a higher paying job, ensured her children were doing well in school, paid down debts and increased her credit score and created a savings for her future. The family moved into a market rent apartment and has continued to do well.