VIDEO: Rachel and family flourish at ECE

With Catholic Charities supporting her, Rachel keeps moving onward and upward, including her two sons attending its Early Childhood Education centers.

“If my son Liam wasn’t in Head Start program before going into kindergarten, he wouldn’t be where he is at now,” Rachel said about her 6-year-old son. “I feel like he was already ahead when he got into kindergarten. He already knew how to write his name and count.”

She is also thrilled to watch her 3-year-old son Mateo become potty trained, make friends and overcome speech challenges. Rachel’s two sons first attended Catholic Charities’ Early Childhood Education’s Decatur location — and are now at the Mariposa location and one entering 1st grade.

With no other support or family help, she doesn’t know what she would do without Catholic Charities.

“I feel very grateful and blessed I have met these great staff members,” Rachel shared. “They’re so helpful and want to help. They’re always asking how we’re doing and if we need anything.”

Rachel also receives diapers and wipes, a monthly bus pass, and gift cards for food at King Soopers or Walmart. Her family has received Christmas gifts through Catholic Charities’ Adopt-A-Family program and help with buying her children’s birthday presents.

The support has been invaluable to the single mom who is attending a career development school to become a peer recovery specialist. Her goal is to become an addiction counselor to help others who were once struggling, as she did, with drug addiction, homelessness and incarceration.

“I actually was in a bad relationship with their father,” Rachel said. “And I kind of just packed up one night and left. That started my journey of being homeless and (jumping) from shelter to shelter and motel to motel. It was about a year until I applied at Joshua Station, and now I’m there.” Joshua Station, a program of Mile High Ministries, provides transitional housing.

She stays at Joshua Station while studying during the day. She then walks to pick up her sons from school. A year ago, she joined other parents in the Head Start program policy council as secretary.

“I’ve never been a part of something like this my whole life,” Rachel said. “I could put it on resume, which is a huge highlight.”

She has also volunteered to help distribute diapers and wipes to other families from Catholic Charities’ Marisol Miles diaper truck.

Rachel is grateful for the help she’s received from Catholic Charities.

“I’ve been through a lot of struggle and coming here has helped me get on to the next step in my life,” she said. “And it’s helped me get out of the struggle and it’s given me a lot of opportunities.”