Stepping Stones

“If you’ve never been in that situation, it’s hard to understand what it’s like.”

This story is from the Invisible Project, a collaboration between the Welcome Project and Porter County Coalition for Affordable Housing, Housing Opportunities, Gabriel’s Horn, Dayspring Women’s Center, and Porter County Museum.

This is part three of a three-part story.

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Transcript for Stepping Stones

There’s some people out there—they don’t want the help. They just, they don’t want it. And I’ve seen people who don’t take the help, and then they end up in the same predicament that they were in. They don’t have the same opportunities because they didn’t take the opportunities that were given to them. But there are people out there that really need help, and there are people out there that don’t want to be on the system forever, that don’t want welfare, that don’t take advantage of it. They’re just trying—they’re taking stepping stones to get where they need to get, and for that period of time, they have to let their pride go, and get the help that they need.

Housing Opportunities helps me by providing a roof. We go over goals. They help you find steps to finding a job. They give you resources to help you go to school. They introduce you to other nonprofit organizations that help you with other things. Like, they help my son with his speech therapy. They referred me to somebody. They referred me to First Steps. They referred me to Early Head Start—Head Start. The Family Youth Services Bureau—they paid for my car insurance for the first six months when I first got my car. I graduated from them, I guess you can say now, but they were truly amazing. Every single one of them that I had were amazing. Geminus Head Start—the nonprofit organization—my son went there for two years, and I loved the teachers that he had. They were amazing. One time, I didn’t have enough money to pay for my son’s pictures, and they—the teachers—put in the money to buy his pictures. I mean, then you have food stamps and welfare, that helps provide food, medical coverage, and that helps a lot, too.

My case manager, Cindy, is an incredible role model. She comes out to the apartment, she talks to us, she goes over the goals. She’s taught me how to be a mom. She’s amazing. She is more than just a case manager to me.

Right now, things are pretty good. I do watch children out of my house. Yes, it’s not a lot of money, but I’m able to pay my bills. I’m able to buy my son what he needs, I’m able to keep a roof over our head right now. I was looking for another job, and I’m going to start looking for another job again as soon as I have a reliable car. It’s still hard—you still struggle, especially when your car is constantly breaking down. You don’t have enough money to pay for everything and fix your car, so the bills have to come first, and then the car, but I’m managing. We eat. We have a roof. He has clothes.

I think people need to step outside of the box and look around for a minute, and see that there are people out there that are really struggling, and that are not taking advantage of the system, and that really, really, do need help. Not everybody is the same. I think that it’s just the way you look at it. And if you’ve ever been in that situation. If you’ve never been in that situation, then it’s hard for people to understand what it’s like. I think, sometimes you have to step back and take yourself out of your situation, and put yourself in somebody else’s shoes.