When Gigi was 20 years old, she went through a difficult time. She was living with her boyfriend, and in an emotionally abusive relationship. They got evicted from their apartment, broke up, and then Gigi found out she was pregnant.
“I had no idea what I was going to do. I felt really alone because I didn’t have a lot of people I felt like I could talk to about what was happening,” she said.
Through a local health clinic, Gigi got connected with a program supported by United Way, which prepares determined single mothers to excel in the workforce as well as readies their children to succeed in school. She saw the chance for a better life for herself and her son through the program’s supportive housing and childcare as well as educational and employment support.
“Supportive housing gave me the freedom and ability to be a mom to my son. The program provided a safe place to live and we always had food on the table, I didn’t have to worry about where dinner was coming from,” Gigi said.
The program also helped her go back to school, find employment, and achieve financial security for her family. After about five years in the program, Gigi was able to get her own apartment as her son was starting kindergarten.
Now, over 15 years later, Gigi is a motivational speaker and author. Her son, Sadiiq, is a junior in high school and basketball player looking at colleges. The family is also looking at buying a house in the next year.
“We always have an opportunity to re-write our stories,” said Gigi. “I was able to rewrite my story because of United Way- it helped me change the road I was on.”