A Mother’s Determination

Cara Staff

Annietha is a proud mother of seven children, including two that she adopted after their parents were unable to raise them. She is motivated by her role as a mother and will attest that her family is the source for her persistence, particularly as she faced dire times.

Annietha is bright, caring, and determined. When you speak to her you can feel the energy in her voice and you can see that she is a fighter.

In the late ‘90s she was starting her collegiate career at Florida State University. But her plans changed when her mother was found at home unconscious and unresponsive. Annietha came home to Chicago to take care of her.

What followed was Annietha doing what she needed to do to survive. She worked multiple jobs while starting a family and assuming the role of a caregiver to her mother. She gave her all, and still found herself coming up short. She would often have to make difficult choices like gas or electricity, water or food. She faced bouts of homelessness. She even endured a year of living in a domestic violence situation, as it meant having a roof for her children.

Through all the hardships she faced, she never passed the worry down to her children.

“Whenever we faced a challenge, I told them mom would figure it out. That everything would be okay. I wanted to ensure my children had every opportunity possible and that whatever our current living situation was wouldn’t effect that.

Through Horizons for Youth, an organization that provides need-based scholarships and support programs and educational resources for students, Annietha was able to ensure her children all received quality educations.

Annietha was working multiple jobs while juggling the demands of her family, but she needed more stability. Coincidentally, her introduction to Cara came from an unlikely source – her youngest son, Lazaireus. The 18-year-old heard of Cara through Pride ROC – a community organization that seeks to end neighborhood violence through holistic self-improvement courses and enrolled in July 2018.

Right away, Annietha was impressed with what the change she saw in her son. “He would come home each day, talking excitedly about what was happening at Cara. His whole attitude and how he handled situations changed. His negativity vanished. He didn’t say ‘I can’t’ anymore, it became ‘I can.’”

She knew Cara was for her and, this past January, followed her son’s example.

Annietha with her son and fellow Cara participant, Lazaireus.

“I knew I wanted this for me and my family. I wanted stability and that’s what I found at Cara. It fulfilled a lot in me. I knew I was a strong, capable woman, but Cara gave me that extra oomph to go out and get what I wanted in life.”

Today, Annietha’s kids range from ages 18 to 26 and are happy, healthy, and pursuing educations in everything from photography to veterinary science. She still cares for her mom, who Annietha considers to be her biggest motivator.

And, on the day Annietha spoke to us about being a hard-working mom, she was also starting her first day at her new job with East Bank Club. The excitement in her voice was palpable.

“I’m so excited. I can’t wait to walk through that door and start my new beginning. This isn’t just another job, it’s a new beginning. I’m going to be a leader and I’m going to stand out.

More than 100 strong moms are currently transforming their life and their family at Cara (and hundreds more are among our alumni). Click here to read more stories of our hard-working moms!

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