I humbly ask for help in a way that I never thought that I would need. I find myself now living an all too common American reality – watching a stable career and relative financial security devolve into my family being on the brink of losing everything that we have in a blink in an economy where childhood mental health issues and career insecurity devastate countless families each day.
As most of you know, I am the only parent of two amazing boys – 5 and 3.5 years old. Over the past year, my youngest child has begun to deal with some significant mental health challenges that are taking a toll on our family. He has been removed from four schools in the past year alone because of behavior issues and/or the school’s unwillingness to serve him. On a Thursday about a month ago, he was removed from of his 4th school in a year, and I was fired without notice from my job about an hour later because I had to leave the office too frequently or miss work altogether to deal with these challenges and the repercussions within our family. While I still do not know exactly what is going on with Liam, we have begun the extremely costly process of evaluations that are not covered by insurance, along with weekly therapy sessions that are also not covered by insurance. It is unsustainable in the best of circumstances and based on the feedback we have received so far, this will not be a short-term challenge.
If you know me, you know that working to create equity in education for poor kids (like I was) and black and brown kids is my deepest professional and personal passion and until necessity recently dictated otherwise, every decision I have ever made about my career has been dictated by this life purpose. Over the past two years, I have had to make some tough decisions about my career that put my family first, but that were not always the best thing financially or for the security and progress of my career. Additionally, three years of having two children in daycare at the same time to the tune of $2000/month on one income has taken its toll. I have felt helpless as I have watched my salaries and opportunities dwindle, and every bit of savings and security that I have managed to create for myself as a career-long educator evaporate.
The great news is that I have found a new job that will better suit our family’s needs moving forward! The not-so-great news is that there is a nearly two-month gap between now and when I will receive my first paycheck, after a month out of work (and pay) already. Over the course of the last two years, I have exhausted every single personal resource I have, and I quite simply need some help to bridge the challenges that lie ahead for my family in the next few months.
If you know me, you know how incredibly difficult this is for me. I pride myself on my independence and my ability to make it work for the family that I chose, no matter what. If you know me, you know how well I know that there are so many people in the US and the world whose worries are much greater than my own. If you know me, you know that I would never send this plea were I not in dire need and worry for my family’s immediate future.
While I have amazing friends, family, and colleagues, I would never ask for your help directly because you are all educators and social sector heroes and, let’s face it – on your salary, most of you are trying to make ends meet, too. But if you have people in your networks who can help, please know that Gabe, Liam, and I will be eternally grateful. We look forward to being on our feet again and continuing to pay it forward very soon.
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