By Diamond Richardson
DALLAS – Keidra Perry knows that nothing in life is promised.
Years before Perry arrived at Buckner Family Pathways, she had the life she always wanted. She had a good job. She and her family lived in a nice house with two new cars parked in the driveway.
“I wasn’t humble enough,” Perry said. “I think that is why God had to take everything from me.”
Perry lost her job. Her cars were repossessed. Her family’s finances and her marriage could not withstand the stress of being laid-off, she said.
“My husband could not make the transition; he was still spending money like I had a job,” Perry said. “Then he started being very disrespectful toward me and it was clear he had fallen out of love with me.”
Despite the problems, Perry tried to make the marriage work for her children. When she found out she was pregnant, her joy was quickly turned to sorrow.
“He forced me to have an abortion and that really took a toll on me emotionally,” said Perry, who has a history of struggling with depression. “It was like he hated me for being pregnant. That was when I decided it was time to leave.”
Perry said the separation from her husband was a low point in her life. She later got back together with the father of her first daughter and became pregnant. Perry was delighted to have another baby but struggled financially to provide for her larger family.
“The need to have that child never went away after the abortion,” she said. “I was happy about the baby, but it was hard because I was not making that much money at my new job.”
Unable to pay her bills and separated from her children’s father, Perry and her three children—Diamond; 2, Amber; 18, and Quindarius; 19 — were forced to move into a shelter.
Perry’s story is not uncommon. As the sole provider for their families, single mothers often have no one to turn to for financial assistance in difficult times. Many of these mothers become a part of the 85 percent of homeless families that are headed by single mothers in the United States.
At the homeless shelter, Perry learned about Buckner Family Pathways, a self-sufficiency program for single mothers enrolled in an educational or vocational training program. Perry entered the program in January. With the help of Family Pathways, she has been able to get back on her feet financially.
“Family Pathways has relieved the financial burden by helping me out with bills and keeping a roof over our heads,” Perry said. “I get a nice, comfortable, furnished place to stay without the worries of utilities or high rent expenses while going to school.”
Perry, who is working on her degree in business management, said she would like to move into people management after graduating and eventually manage a company.
“I am glad I am going back to school now, because I am more focused,” Perry said. “I am determined and I refuse to go backwards.”
She also sees a promising future for her oldest children.
“My kids are so determined; my oldest daughter just graduated from high school and is going to school to become a nurse,” Perry said. “My son will be going to college in Tyler.”
“I would not have made it this far if it wasn’t for Family Pathways,” she said. “They have helped me overcome my depression and I appreciate everything they have done to help provide a better life for my children.”
At 37, Perry has had everything and had nothing, but all that matters to her today is that she is back on track.
“No one ever wants to go through a situation like this but I still thank God because it made me the person that I am today,” she said.
To learn more about how you can support Buckner transitional programs like Family Pathways, call Buckner Foundation at 214-758-8000.
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