After her husband left, Candi and her kids had to move in with her Mom and sleep on the floor. “That was so hard,” she says. “I had to eat my pride.” Fast forward 6 years: Candi entered CLI’s Transitional Housing Program, so she and her kids have a clean and safe apartment with comfortable beds. And, now she is moving ahead. With pride, she says, “I am starting all over to rebuild my life and stand on my own two feet. I want to be an example for my children.”
With COVID-19 and a recent back injury, Candi is now facing a new set of challenges, but she is weathering the storm. When I ask her where she gets her strength, she replies without hesitating, “My kids; taking care of my kids. And Miss Braxton.” The COVID-19 pandemic has given her more time to spend with her son and daughter. They especially like to bake cookies, play board games and have fun outside. Her daughter’s favorite cookies are chocolate chip, while her son favors sugar cookies. And Candi tells us she makes a mean upside-down cake.
Charlene Braxton, Candi’s CLI caseworker, holds a close second to her kids when it comes to Candi’s resilience. “Miss Braxton pushes me—stays on my case to do what I need to do. And she gives me pep talks. She keeps me going,” Candi notes. With Charlene’s help, Candi has gotten health insurance and started a savings account, something she had never done before. Ultimately, Candi’s goal is to earn a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) certificate, and she has her plan worked out. With her daughter in AP classes and headed to college, the family clearly has a bright future ahead.
Coming to CLI has taught Candi some important lessons: “It’s ok that we’re not perfect; it’s ok if we fall down, as long as we get back up. It’s ok to ask for help,” she says. Since we are all finding life under COVID-19 so challenging, I ask her if she has any advice for others. “Have hope and never give up. If we all work together, we can get through this.”