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April 23, 2014
My name is Ani and I have four children ages 4, 6, 14, and 18. My eldest has recently left the nest and is thriving in his own apartment and making his own living now, and my three younger children live at home with me.
We all love the performing arts - dancing, acting, theater, and singing. Other activities we enjoy as a family include cooking, baking, yoga, arts and crafts, and wandering around the woods, fields, and rivers enjoying nature.
I was teaching preschool at a Waldorf School when I felt inspired to take the next step in my career. I wanted to explore the therapeutic realm to help the children experiencing sensory integration dysfunction and difficulties with balance, coordination, and the autism spectrum.
I put those interests on hold as my family grew. Then, after I separated from my children's father, I decided to enroll in part-time, online college courses as an opportunity to eventually arrive at a career that I feel fascinated by and passionate about. Returning to college was the obvious solution for immediate independence, as well as the path to long-term self-sufficiency and a higher, stable income.
As my children grew, I quickly increased my course load to full-time and needed child care very badly. I had been staying up frequently around the clock to study and be a full-time mother. I was committed to maintaining an 'A' average in my classes, with the knowledge that graduate school admission would be very competitive. I was deeply exhausted and stressed out.
WomenGive helped me to pay for my children to attend a high-quality preschool/child care where I felt comfortable that they were beingboth emotionally and physically well cared for. I began to get a little bit more sleep and find more ease in my busy student-mother life. The children have benefited from a predictable schedule and social outlets, as well as a positive learning environment.
I will receive my bachelor's degree in the spring of 2015! I intend to apply to graduate school for Occupational Therapy once I complete my bachelor's degree. Starting in the fall semester of 2014, I will also be taking classes locally at Front Range Community College to fulfill lab science prerequisite requirements for my graduate school application. It feels incredible to be so close to my initial goal, after a long period of the hardest work I have ever done in all of my life so far.
WomenGive has been incredibly supportive to me in other less expected ways as well. Handwritten cards of encouragement often come in the mail and truly lift my spirits and help me to feel cared for and less alone on this path. Also, the emergency fund has been a huge help to me. I have been assisted with new tires on my car when mine were bald and slippery in snowy weather and worn to the point of bursting. I also received help with rent when my financial aid was inexplicably late. Essentially, WomenGive saved me from homelessness one critical month!
I cannot say enough about the value of this scholarship program. It has felt as if someone has scooped us up into a big, caring hand and taken a bit of my excess responsibility and spread it out more evenly, to make it possible to manage.
To learn more about how you can become a WomenGive member and make a difference in the lives of women like Ani and her family, click here.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County