EMPOWERING FAMILIES TO MOVE BEYOND GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE AND INTO THEIR FULL GOD-GIVEN POTENTIAL.
My name is Tonya. I was married for 17 years and I had at the time three beautiful girls. I was a stay-at-home mom.
Then, out of nowhere, my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 carcinoma. The doctor gave us the very bad news that he had six months to live. I became his caretaker, which was challenging taking care of him, but at the same time trying to take care of my girls who were ages 5, 3 and 1. My husband passing was the one of the devastating moments in my life, and was the start my downward spiral.
This is when I started hanging around people that were not a good influence for me or my girls. This led to me making some very bad choices. I found myself in the most desperate situation I’ve ever been in. I also didn’t have my high school diploma, which made getting a job very challenging. I had zero support system. I was spiraling down quickly.
I knew something had to change for the wellbeing of my girls and myself. I thought there was no way out. I had nowhere to go —nothing but the clothes on my back. I had lost my children and everything, including every ounce of hope!
I asked God for help. Jesus changed everything. Through an answered prayer, an amazing couple took me into their home. At least now I had a roof over my head because of these two angels. My “angels” had me enroll in Celebrate Recovery, which was the start of my new life. I started the GED process at Adult Education in Seneca where my teacher told me about the Ripple of One organization, so I decided to apply.
Then I had another prayer answered —after several months I finally made it into the Ripple of One program! Since I started in the Ripple program, I have completed my GED, which was one of the most rewarding moments of my life. My girls got to watch me graduate! Just weeks later after my graduation I was awarded custody of my children and they finally got to move in with me!
With the encouragement and help of my Ripple team, I now have my own place to live. The group of women in Ripple that surround me are amazing. I’m learning so much — even to be financially responsible, live on a budget and to how to save. I feel so much more confident. Ripple provided me with a paid internship, so now I even have a job that helps others and allows me to meet the needs of my family. I chose an internship at The Wilderness Way Girls Camp Thrift Store in Westminster because I grew up in a foster care home myself — I desperately wanted to give back to young girls that are struggling.
Having a regular job makes me feel “normal” again. Also having my girls back in my home makes me feel like we are a family again, which feels wonderful.
For the first time in my life, I’m learning that doing the right thing is worth it! Following through with something has great rewards.
Being a single mom with four daughters is tough, but Ripple has my back. I’m never going back to my old life. I’m still on my journey, but I’m now on the path to a much better/healthier life for me and my girls.