Sometimes life’s challenges seem to snowball. Fatama struggled to keep consistent employment because, with no family support, she had to miss work to make it to her autistic son’s therapy appointments. She struggled with homelessness off and on for four years and felt ready to give up on everything.
When Fatama was connected with United Way supported agency Crisis Nursery, she was finally able to get her life back on track. Crisis Nursery helped her family by providing food, diapers and respite care, as well as counseling services and help finding employment and housing through the Family Empowerment Program. Today, Fatama has a stable place to live, her children are all receiving a quality education and the family is rebuilding their lives.
“I'm not where I want to be now, but I'm better than where I was,” Fatama says. “I'm in a better situation now because I have a roof over my kids' heads and they have food, they have clothes, they have everything that they need.”
“My family did not help me. I had no support,” she adds. “I have family from Crisis Nursery, and they believe in me.”
Knowing that not everyone has a support system at home, Fatama now lives to help others.
As a member of the Parent Advisory Board at Crisis Nursery, Fatama uses her experience to help other families overcome obstacles and improve their lives. Fatama says she loves helping people, and having the opportunity to serve on the board is an honor.
“I try to encourage other people. No matter what we go through in life, you still have to reach for the top,” she says. “If something bad is happening, you have to move forward. You have to get up.”
Her time spent at Crisis Nursery and on the board opened her eyes to how many other single moms like her struggle to make ends meet and live lives they can be proud of. She started collecting diapers and gently-used clothes to help families in need.
Fatama recently wrote a vegetarian cookbook that includes sensory-friendly foods that her autistic son enjoys. She says she values healthy eating and staying active – two lifestyles that are difficult to maintain as a low-income single mom of three. She hopes the cookbook will teach others how to meal prep and eat healthy.
Her three kids – now 15, 9 and 7 – look up her and are even writing books of their own. They are learning how to express themselves and how to help others through their own experiences, just like Mom.
The next step of her journey will be going back to college. She says the most important thing for her is to set a good example for her children.
About Crisis Nursery Saint Louis
The Saint Louis Crisis Nursery is committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect and provides emergency intervention, respite care and support to families in crisis through short-term care for young children in a safe and nurturing environment, helping families resolve crisis, community outreach and awareness, advocacy for children and families, and offering resources for empowerment, ongoing support and parent education.
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