A Single Mother No Longer Alone
“Debbie”, the single (divorced) mother of three who walked into our offices for that first meeting was an emotionally fragile, lost soul who felt abandoned by the world, and the Project Ezrah team immediately realized that there was much more to Debbie’s story than a straightforward financial setback.
Unfortunately, parts of her story were not unique to Project Ezrah, but Debbie was faced with unique challenges that needed to be overcome; a limited education coupling with learning differences, severely limited her earning potential. Additionally, each of the three children also had specific learning issues and, in order to get an education that would allow them to flourish, would need to attend the Sinai School for Special Needs.
To address many of the family’s diverse needs, the Financial Management and Assistance and the Employment teams, along with an assigned social worker, created a plan and budget specifically focused on this family’s issues, highlighting short term and long term goals.
The team worked in concert with this young, single mother toward her goals of both financial and emotional self-reliance; however, the children’s education and tuitions needed to be addressed first. Though the school was (and has always been) extremely sensitive to this situation, there was still a sizeable financial obligation. Project Ezrah was able to cover that expense and the children were able to continue and to grow and learn. (As we are all well aware, Yeshiva tuition, though vital for our continued existence, is costly. Special needs schools are even more cost prohibitive.)
An employment counselor worked endlessly on job readiness skills through individual counseling sessions, workshop suggestions, and resume writing. Additionally, the team looked for opportunities that would increase Debbie’s earning potential and arranged for her acceptance into the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, a state and federal program for a six month computer training program. Upon completion of the course work, Debbie was awarded a certificate as a Microsoft Office and Photoshop Specialist.
This lovely woman has always felt that she had a “home” in the Project EZRAH office. She knows that everyone here, from receptionist, to counselors to Executive Director, care for her. She know she can always call with questions or for suggestions whether for life skills, educational or emotional matters.
“Project EZRAH pushed me in a positive way to go to school and helped me develop a stronger self esteem,” Debbie told us. “You have had a positive impact on my children and me beyond financial help; we have felt emotional support and encouragement.”
Debbie has come such a long way. She is no longer the frightened, emotionally fragile lost soul who walked into our offices just a few years ago. The journey has been arduous at times, but Debbie and her counselors persevered and kept pushing forward. She is now a retail associate, loves her job, and has been asked to take on more and more responsibilities. At a small “congratulations” celebration to salute Debbie and her new job, a Project Ezrah counselor asked Debbie to look into a mirror and describe how she saw herself at this much-strived-for point in her life. Her answer touched each one of us deeply; “I look like any responsible person you see on the street. Someone with a good job who pays their bills on time who makes a nice home and takes care of her family.”