My Story, Chatham, North Carolina

By Amanda | Posted Tuesday September 4, 2012

    I grew up in a solid middle class family. My parents divorced in 1999, and had joint custody of me. After the divorce, my dad had a train wreck of a remarriage for 5 years. Mom dated some, but stayed single. She also decided to adopt a child. My younger sister was 3 years old (she is 14 now) when she came to live with us as a foster child whom we adopted 2 years later. My mom is who I want to focus on.
    My mom has an associates degree from our local community college and worked for a bio-pharmaceutical company for almost 20 years before being laid off in 2008, shortly after the recession began. Mom received a severance package from her company for several months after being laid off. While living off the severance package, she tried desperately for two things. 1. To find another job. 2. to get a mortgage modification through the government program.
    She was unsuccessful at both of these things because of how terrible the job market had already become, and because the government mortgage modification program turned out to be more of a scam than an effort to help needy homeowners. By now, her income and benefits from the severance package had nearly run out. She got creative, and decided to start her own business. (It is a dog training business) The business she started is what her passion in life is, so she is very happy doing it.
    However, the start of mom’s business was not the end of our troubles. Her business did not earn enough money for the three of us to live on. Bills piled up, and eventually our house was foreclosed and we had to move. We came very close to being homeless because mom operates her business out of our home and we had lots of trouble finding a home where there were not neighborhood restrictions that would prevent her from operating her business.
    The home we found to move to was a foreclosed on, poorly up kept, and small double wide trailer. Mom is still struggling every day, and things keep piling up. The roof has been leaking for over a year now, and mom has no money to fix or replace it. Both cars that she owns are 10+ years old and constantly have issues. We have received food on more than one occasion from food pantries, and sometimes our only real income in a month is the $700-ish check from my sisters adoption. We have the bare minimum in health care insurance plans, because I am in college and am required to have some form of health insurance. We usually get by on just the bare minimum and absolute necessities, if we can manage everything. Many months, we are deciding which bills to pay and which ones to put off, and how long we can put them off.
    Being in this situation has impacted the way in which I want to direct my life. I am 20 years old and putting myself through college, and will openly admit that without financial aid and loans, I absolutely would not be here. I am a Sociology major, with a minor in Communication Studies. I picked these two things because one day I would like to work in a social service job. I am interested in helping people, especially people who are in a situation similar to myself. I would love to one day be a counselor of some type, or another similar position. This is my story.

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