Danette's Story

A mother with a bright future

Danette, a newly single mother, moved to Colorado on the advice of her sister in 2012, leaving her life as a waitress in Texas behind. Upon arriving with her then-infant daughter Kinsley, she was put in touch with Project Self-Sufficiency, one of United Way of Larimer County's collective impact partners, involved in our Working Families Thrive collaborative group.

Project Self-Sufficiency is an organization that supplies single parents with many resources, beginning with practical necessities and career planning while on the road to independent living. With their help, Danette mapped out a career path to become an Environmental Health Technician, and enrolled at Front Range Community College (who also happen to be a member of Working Families Thrive). Danette received other support services from Project Self-Sufficiency, including an educational scholarship, a child care fund, and help with basic living expenses. In addition, her daughter received back-to-school clothes and holiday gifts each year.

Danette’s Project Self-Sufficiency advisor Maggie connected her to WomenGive, a program of United Way of Larimer County. This dynamic network of members help women achieve economic independence through childcare scholarships that allow them to attain higher education. WomenGive also supplied Danette with critical emotional support on her journey. “They helped me be successful by offering motivation like phone calls and notes to see how I was doing,” says Danette.

“I was able to send her to an excellent daycare and preschool without worrying about how I was going to pay for them.”


WomenGive funded childcare while Danette finished her Associate’s degree from Front Range Community College, followed by her Bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University. This support allowed her to spend time with her daughter during her formative years - focusing on her own education without sacrificing raising Kinsley. Explains Danette, “I was able to send her to an excellent daycare and preschool without worrying about how I was going to pay for them.”

At the end of 2016, Danette proudly graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Health from Colorado State University, with job prospects already lining up. After considering offers in Cheyenne and southern Colorado, she realized how much she wanted to raise her daughter among family in Fort Collins. Just recently, she accepted a job in the Environmental Health department at Colorado State University.

In her new role, she coordinates transportation regulations and compliance for the many fleet vehicles and drivers that work for the university. Additionally, she handles all aspects of providing, tracking, and maintaining respirators used on campus. Many roles require their use, such as the veterinary and agricultural departments, facilities workers, and others. She loves the position and her manager!

Danette is growing in other areas too, thanks to the opportunities she received from United Way and its partners, in keeping with our vision is that we can do more together than we can alone. Kinsley will start kindergarten in the fall, and they’re moving into their own place, after living with her sister for five years. Danette happily cancelled their food stamps, and they’re ready to be on their own. “We made it!” Danette exclaims proudly.

Danette is so grateful to WomenGive that she wants to stay involved in the program. She explains sincerely, “It’s important to stay involved in things we’re passionate about. Anything I can do to spread the word to support their good work is really important to me. WomenGive provides such a unique opportunity for women here, helping not just individuals but strengthening the entire community.”