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When Tom Murphy suddenly became a single father, his situation was exacerbated by the fact that he no longer had care for his three young children – Tommy, Katya and Miles – while he was at work.
“Around the time their mother left the family and the state, school was beginning, so I had to scramble and see what I could find to take care of Miles because the preschool he was going to was only a couple hours a day,” Tom said. “We needed what they call 'wraparound' care where you can go to preschool but also have daycare as well.”
While his other children received before- and after-school care from B.A.S.E. Camp, Tom searched to find quality, affordable child care and early education for his youngest. The options available presented him with a difficult position financially. With one less person in his household, the Murphy family became less eligible for aid. However, their expenses went up dramatically by having to pay for child care for all three children.
“As a single parent, I worried ‘Am I going to make the mortgage? Am I going to lose my home? Do I have to work a second job?’ he said. “I [felt] like I was working more than one job as it was by being both mother and father to the children.”
Fortunately, Tom was introduced to Teaching Tree, a highly-rated early education organization that receives funding from United Way of Larimer County. With this funding, Teaching Tree is able to assist many families with sliding-scale fees – providing the Murphy family not only with the wraparound care that Miles needed, but also a quality early education.
“While Miles was here at the Teaching Tree it wasn't just that he received care but he received instruction,” said Tom. “They helped him excel socially, emotionally and academically. The first two weeks he cried every day, but through the help of the people at the Teaching Tree he was able to make that transition and succeed. He did wonderfully academically, and he's just completed his first year of kindergarten at the top of the class.”
Miles is now thriving in school, and Tom is excelling and advancing at work. “United Way was really instrumental in helping my family get through a very difficult situation, and it enabled me to focus on improving our financial situation,” said Tom. “I've been able to succeed at work because I could go to work knowing that my children are being cared for…among all the other things that were going on at that time, you can’t put a price on that.”
The Murphy Family is just one example of the way that United Way of Larimer County’s work in Youth and Education is making a difference in our community. Our programs and partnerships in this area focus on kindergarten readiness, reading a grade level by the end of third grade and high school completion.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County