It was a momentous occasion, filled with joy, but also uncertainty. How would she support three children on her own? How can she provide the best for her children without a job or even a high school diploma? Will she ever feel safe in her own neighborhood?
Years later, circumstances in Mary’s life had left her with four beautiful children under the age of six and little support from her partner. She met the kids’ father at the age of 16. She describes her situation as her “being a single parent” because they decided to part. It was then she decided to start over.
“I didn’t want to be at a dead end with nothing but government assistance. I realized I really needed to get my high
She turned to Urban Strategies for help. It was then that she received resources to discover opportunities to get her diploma and begin the path to success. Mary was connected with the George Gervin Youth Center and their YouthBuild program, designed to help 16-24-year-olds obtain their high school diplomas, workforce training, and certification in construction.
Mary finished the program and walked proudly at graduation.
“When my boys saw me wearing a cap and gown the day of graduation, they kept saying I looked so beautiful and they couldn’t wait to graduate and go to college.”
Obtaining her high school diploma was a promise to herself and her children. Mary is now pursuing an electrical apprenticeship and working with Urban Strategies’ workforce specialists to find a job in construction. She’s also looking forward to seeing positive changes in San Antonio’s Eastside.
Mary describes living in a neighborhood where she consistently saw people walking around with guns tucked inside their pants and she frequently witnessed drive-by shootings and other violence.
She is hopeful that she will finally feel safe to be walking around outside with her kids.
“I remember one night hearing gunshots so close – I ran into their room and threw myself on top of my kids to protect them. I see now that things are changing. I am so happy that this renovation is happening. I feel positive about the whole change and I am excited to move back.”