The dreaded day came when Jennifer and her five children were evicted from their rented house and faced homelessness. Jennifer always worked hard, yet found herself getting further and further behind in bills. With no child support and her rent rising, she struggled to support two children under five, two in elementary school and one in high school. Jennifer explains, “It was hard to pay all the bills myself. Paying for rent, childcare, after-school programs, even gas was getting too expensive and I couldn’t keep up”. Any jolt to this precarious situation– loss of work hours, an increase in rent or falling ill– and Jennifer knew her family would be homeless. On top of financial worries, her three-year-old daughter was born with a thyroid problem that caused her speech to be delayed and she needed to get her help. Like so many single mothers, her family teetered on the edge of financial disaster until the ledge broke beneath them. Jennifer and her children moved into the shelter at St. Matthews House. Families with school-age children now account for 33% of people seeking refuge in homeless shelters. Almost all of these homeless families are headed by a single mother whose income is not enough to cover the bills.
Jennifer has big dreams for her future. She is going to school full-time to become a paralegal, while working an overnight shift at a Race Trac gas station. Jennifer says, “When I finish school, I will beat every statistic out there for a single mom!” CCCR is proud to help Jennifer turn her dreams into reality. We provide scholarships for childcare and high-quality early education for her three and four-year-old. Jennifer used to pay $1,000 a month for childcare, but at CCCR she pays only $64 a month for both children with financial assistance from CCCR and state subsidies. Jennifer tells us, “I couldn’t begin to explain what a miracle CCCR has been for me. I couldn’t do it alone. Your help has been amazing and something I’m very appreciative of.”
Even more valuable to Jennifer is that her children are flourishing at Child’s Path. Jennifer says, “The childcare I had before was essentially babysitting, not giving them an education or introducing them to motor skills and vocabulary. My daughter’s speech therapist is very impressed with her progress.” She said that CCCR also helped her son “to calm down a lot. He speaks clearly now. I’m impressed honestly. CCCR did that for them.” At CCCR was understand what an immense challenge it is to be a single parent. We are on a mission to strengthen and enrich the lives of underserved children and families in Collier County. We do this by providing scholarships to give access to the highest-quality early education and care. We do this by supporting and engaging our parents. We do this for the love of children because every child deserves the chance for the brightest future.