MY MOM – MY HERO
Michelle’s life, itself, began as an overwhelming surprise- she was one of two, in an unexpected twin birth to a single mom and a father struggling with addiction. Her first 10 years were marred by abuse and chaos. As Michelle floundered in school with undiagnosed learning disabilities, she anesthetized her struggles with alcohol and drugs… starting at age 11.
On the fast track to self-destruction, Michelle began dating a known gang member at age 15 and was pregnant by 16. Michelle then became an emancipated minor and married the father of her child. Michelle was young and the pregnancy was difficult. David, her baby, was born 3 months premature. He was immediately diagnosed with head bleeds and required numerous surgeries. The scar tissue caused epilepsy. David has since been diagnosed with Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy, Broncho-Pulmonary Dysplasia, Hydrocephalus, and visual and hearing impairments. To date, David has undergone over 30 brain operations.
Education became a life line. After working up the courage to divorce her now-incarcerated husband, Michelle was inspired to attempt her first degree. From there she applied for and received scholarships to ASU to complete her B.A.
Michelle’s relationship with Helping Hands for Single Moms scholarship began during her B.A. program. Unlike any of the other 14 scholarships she received for her tuition, Helping Hands brought a unique brand of help and support. “The people at Helping Hands understood the everyday needs of a single mom, things like car repair and dental care. It’s more than a check. It’s a relationship with people who support me, mentor me, provided real answers, solutions and encouragement.”
Michelle gains inspiration from David’s strength, courage and love. Encouraged, she continued on to her M.A. in Non-profit Leadership, and soon after, an M.A. in Education/Special Education. Today she is gainfully employed as an elementary school special education teacher. In addition to her full time job Michelle (continuously inspired by David and all he’s been through) is a motivational speaker. She is working on completing her first book. Michelle says she has been able to find strength and healing by giving back to her community. In addition to being a youth leader, Michelle is the Development Director for a local nonprofit, Athletes Empowering Students (AES).
Helping Hands for Single Moms currently serves single moms living only in Phoenix (and soon Tucson), AZ. To make a donation that will help us expand nationwide and assist low-income single moms earn a college degree, click here