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First Longview Family Pathways mom earns bachelor's degree

Jamye McAlister was going to school full time, her children were in school during the day, and she was working at night. Sometimes, she worked double, even triple shifts to provide for her family.

Her family. The children she rarely saw.

“It put me in a position where I didn’t know what was going on with them. I didn’t know what they were doing. My middle child was having a lot of issues in school,” Jamye said. “When I had the parent-teacher conference at school, they asked, ‘Does he sleep at night?’ I didn’t know. That’s when I realized I was disconnected from my children.”

The moment is still vivid in Jamye's mind. It seems time still stops when she thinks about it. Everything went silent except her thoughts.

“It pricked my heart on a deep level. It made me evaluate myself as a mother,” she said. “I’ve always had high standards for myself as a mother. I always said I  didn’t want someone else to raise my children. And here I was. I broke down.”

Jamye began looking for ways to change her life and heard about Buckner Family Pathways in Longview shortly after the parent-teacher conference. She applied for the program, and shortly after received a call from Kimberly Clough, program director of the ministry. 

“I screamed on the phone when she called and told me,” Jamye said. “I was so excited because the process went so quickly.”

Family Pathways helped stabilize the McAlisters. Jamye could focus on her schoolwork and her children. Counseling proved particularly important. It helped Jamye realize certain aspects about her life and actions. More importantly, counseling helped unlock the relationship between McAlister and her middle son.

“He was going through a lot,” Jamye said. “From that moment, I knew how to deal with him. I knew how to bond with him and connect with him on a different level.”

As the family has come together, it has thrived. Jamye is excelling in school as are her children. They love being with each other.

“This is the first place I’ve ever been that everybody is so positive – from the staff to the people who come and go. Everybody associated with Buckner is so positive, and I needed that,” Jamye said. “It’s been a really great experience.”

In May, Jamye became the first Longview Family Pathways mother to earn her bachelor’s degree.

“It means the world to me to graduate and earn my sociology degree,” she said. “Number one, I’ll be the first in my family to graduate college. Number two, with all the experiences I’ve had in life, it’s my passion to want to give back and counsel women to let them know if you know where you want to go, you can get there.”

This summer, you can shine by participating in the Buckner Shine This Summer campaign along with a special $200,000 Matching Grant that doubles the value of each gift Buckner receives by Aug. 31. Every gift will be put to work to help single-parent families across Texas who are living in extreme poverty, fear and vulnerability — like Jamye was.
Should you feel led to make a special investment to be doubled by the Matching Grant, we’d be truly grateful. Any portion of the grant not matched will be lost, so we’re hoping for a strong outpouring of support to help mend more broken lives.
Double your gift today!

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