I have been meaning to tell you the story of Kay for a while now. I met her seven years ago when I volunteered to be a mentor at Richmond High School (of Coach Carter fame). We were matched by a woman named Carol (if you know her please have her get in touch with me). Kay didn't know she was getting a mentor. Neither of us knew what to expect. I only knew that it was something I had wanted to do for a long time.
We got along well from the first day. It started as me helping her with her studies. She was interested in biology. While I don't know anything about biology, we could work on math, physics, English, etc. Soon we became friends and I felt like I could be a role model for her. Kay decided that I was more like a mother.
She is such a unique young woman. She is strong, hard working, and determined to build a better life for herself.
She came from Jamaica at age ten. Her mother had to work 2-3 jobs to support the family. Kay became the family cook and cleaner. She raised herself in many ways. I am not trying to tell you a sad story. I want you to understand how remarkable she is.
She has worked for years now as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Currently she is in her second semester of nursing school. Yay Kay!
Last December she moved in with us. She was living in an awful neighborhood (remember what I said about Richmond being the 11th most dangerous city in the US?) She was also working way too many (graveyard) hours to be able to keep up with her studies. She had worked to hard to get into nursing school to let it slip through her fingers. This is an expensive place to live even in the worst neighborhoods.
In November and December we removed all my craft stuff and general accumulation from a large bedroom and put it all in a 6 foot by 9 foot shack (thankfully with 10 foot ceilings). In its previous life it was a washroom attached to the back of the house. Now it has a roof that doesn't leak, sheet-rock on the walls, and shelving on every square inch of wall.
This picture is from the first day of moving in. That is much of my fiber stash and some of my yarn stash. I dare not show you what it looks like now. Let's just say that there are no empty spots left. The irony is that it is more accessible now as long as I stay organized.
She registered to vote just after the ceremony. Okay, I confess that I made her do it. Voting is not just a right, it is an honor and an obligation. (End of voting rant.)
I have written and erased several paragraphs that sounded trite and like I am tooting my own horn. I just want to say that fate brought me a child whose life I could impact for the better. She in turn has brought a richness I never would have expected. We are both better people for it.
Thank you Kay. I love you and I am proud to be your mother.