Meet Micheala

Micheala is a 35 year old single mother of two. She recently enrolled in SUNY Orange’s nursing program. Micheala has experienced substance abuse and life has not been easy for her. She initially went to an out of state college at the age of 18, but due to her life circumstances she was forced to drop out. She then enrolled in SUNY New Paltz two years later, but having an infant in the home while attending school was a challenge. Ten years later she is recommitted to her education and knows that by establishing her career she can do the best for her children. Micheala discovered her passion for health care and enrolled in the nursing program in January.

Micheala knew that it was all on her to make a good life for her children. The father of her children had a hard time holding down a job and was often late on child support, if he paid at all. He routinely missed calls and visits and seeing her children let down broke her heart. She was the sole financial and emotional support for her children. A devoted mother, her children gave her hope for the future. 

Micheala continues to balance motherhood, her job as a waitress, and night school. Micheala was thrilled after receiving straight A’s on all of her midterm exams, and looked forward to earning her degree and starting her career. She really felt that she was ready this time and had found her career path. Unfortunately, just when she had hit her stride COVID upended her life. 

The restaurant she worked at closed, and given that much of her job was off the books, unemployment wasn’t going to close the gap. Despite these challenges she continued  her schooling and teaching her children who are now home. While she waited for her unemployment her landlord began to pester her for back rent. Her landlord was tough and he had been threatening to lock out his tenants when they were late on rent. Micheala considered working out a payment plan, but did not trust him to honor it. She had been just making ends meet and was at-risk of being out on the street with her and her children. 

Unfortunately, she and her family had a tenuous relationship due to her past drug use. She had now been sober for two years, but they still had reservations about rebuilding their relationship with Micheala. She did not have the option to call them for help. 

Micheala was distressed and had nowhere to turn. However, her student advisor had always been good to her and Micheala called her for advice. Her advisor recommended that she work with United Way. We were able to help Micheala remain safely housed and secure with her children. It was a huge weight off of her shoulders and she rounded out the semester with straight A’s. Recently, Micheala sent us a letter that said “because of United Way’s help I was able to pay my rent, focus on school and be there for my children. United Way is truly a lifeline in our community.”

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