Growing up for me wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard. Despite the things I experienced, I still had support and love. My mom had me at a very young age. When I was six months old, she took me to my grandma’s and dropped me off. She didn’t come back for five years. The memories I have with my grandma were lovely though. I was spoiled. I had a big piano. I wouldn’t change living with my grandma.
When my mom finally came back, she had married a man I consider vile. I have a younger sister and brother and we all watched him routinely abuse my mother. By the time my mom got out of this relationship, I was also acting out. I was a bully – just like my mom’s ex-husband. One day, I saw a boy messing with a girl in a wheelchair and I was so mad at him. I questioned why I could be mad at him when I was a bully too. That’s when I realized I was lashing out due to my own traumas at home.
I wound up staying in school until I was 17-years-old—just shy of receiving my high school diploma. I had met my now husband and we had our first baby. At that time, my mom was on drugs.
Yes, my upbringing may be considered awful, but it taught me something. For some people, these bad experiences might make them jaded, but I am grateful for what my mom’s life taught me. Because of my mother, I always said I never wanted my children to go through what I went through. That’s why I got involved with Stand for Children Indiana. I want my children to get their high school diploma, have a great education, have more than I had and be able to follow their dreams.
Through Stand Indiana, I’ve learned how to be involved with my children’s education. I have learned to be a parent who pushes hard for my kids, for all kids. I’ve learned how to be a better mom. These actions we take - they count, and the future my children will have, it starts at home. Taking a stand for my children’s education doesn’t just help in their classrooms, but it also shows them that I care. As a mother to four daughters, I refuse to let them stop shy of the finish line with their education.
Living in a low-income area, we don’t always know or even have time to know what is going on behind the scenes. As a Stand Indiana Fellow, I’m looking forward to helping other parents get involved and learn about education issues we face in Indianapolis. I want more parents to help their children, and partner with their schools and teachers because a lot of kids are getting overlooked and not being taught.
I hope my story makes other parents want to be become parent advocates and get more involved. I’m going to pass the knowledge I have learned from Stand Indiana down to my family members, friends and strangers with the hope that more parents become advocates.