Each Wednesday of the summer, the Buckner Family Hope Center in Longview, Texas, offered free meals for children at her apartment complex. BK Mazone’s children were there every time, part of the swarm of young people that eagerly enveloped Buckner staff for lunch, activities and fun.
BK saw it all with a smile. “It felt right,” she said of connecting with Buckner. Soon, she discovered firsthand how right it could feel.
The Buckner summer feeding program was one of the few bright spots in BK’s life. She was a single mom with no job, transportation or income. She had a felony on her record. It was “pretty much rock bottom,” she said.
Buckner staff invited BK to start taking classes at the Hope Center, and BK jumped at the opportunity.
“The very first time I walked into Buckner, I was angry, depressed, just down and out, always,” she said. “You wouldn’t know it if I didn’t tell you, but there was a lot of anxiety. There was a lot of drive but nothing to put it into. I didn’t know who I could talk to or reach out to.”
She started with a class about her finances. That led to her enrolling in Bible studies at the Hope Center and First Baptist Church. Then a Jobs for Life employment skills class. Family coaching. Visiting the Buckner resale shop. Her thirst to better herself and her family was insatiable.
“She has this amazing drive,” said Courtney Barr, Family Coach at the Hope Center. “She’s so smart. She’s done pretty much every program we offer at the Family Hope Center except ESL, which she doesn’t need. We’ve done our best to equip her and now she’s soaring.”
The experiences changed BK’s life. Through the Jobs for Life class, she connected with an employer and was hired. BK believes in herself and her ability to overcome obstacles. Recently, she moved into a better housing situation and passed a test that will empower her to get better paying work.
“Something clicked,” Courtney said. “She realized, ‘I don’t have to be here. I can be successful.’ Getting a job really boosted her self-confidence.”
“I have a goal and a plan and right now I’m working toward that,” she said. “Any resources Buckner has, I always take it and run with it. They know more people than I do.”
With each success, BK sees her life transform and she optimistically looks toward the future. Buckner connected BK to people who encouraged and helped her. She made connections to people who were willing to look past her felony and give her a chance. She’s rewarded them with hard work and dedication.
BK is looking to enroll in college this fall. School is another step in strengthening her family.
“I’ve pretty much completed every task I’ve taken on,” she said. “Life is better. Two hundred percent better.”