My need and situation
Watch Shivaun's video
I need supplies to help my six grandchildren stay in contact with their mother in prison. This includes phone cards, for them to be able to talk by phone, art supplies for them to make letters and pictures to send to her, a camera to take pictures of the kids to send back and forth, and summer clothing for our move to Arizona.
Right now, my biggest challenge is getting clothing for the children. The new schools in Arizona don't use uniforms like they do in Chicago. That means we need a whole new wardrobe, and the weather is going to be different too. They'll need sandals, shorts, skirts, and things like that.
It's tough because my income is limited and I am not working because I had several strokes this summer. My health is fine now, but trying to get the money together for the six children all of a sudden is difficult.
Meeting this need will help me because I won't feel the stress anymore. I'm so worried about getting them the things they need. They deserve the best. I've been having headaches and migraines worrying about them. Getting this need met would help us so much.
My current situation is my daughter is incarcerated for the next two years. I just got legal guardianship of her six children. The children are ages 8, 6, 5, 4, 1, and 5 months. We need to move to Arizona, where I live with my husband. My husband gets disability, and I am currently unemployed because of my health. Taking in six children is difficult, but I would never want them to be separated, in the system, or anywhere but with me.
The children love their mother very much. They also love their father, but he is also incarcerated. The kids want to be able to talk to their mom in prison, but each phone call costs about $15. I can't afford to let them talk to her as much as they want to, and I know they need to hear her voice and know she is ok. And vice versa. I think my daughter really, really needs to hear the children and connect with them so that she knows she has something to change her life for. In fact, my daughter told the judge that she didn't care how much time she received, she just needed to make sure the kids where safe and with our family.
The children have been through a lot. They have witnesses horrible abuse, been moved around a lot, and now are starting over with no clothing, furniture, or supplies in Arizona. I just want them to be able to send some pictures, draw for their mom, and talk to her on the phone - it will make them happy.
Meeting this need will help me achieve future goals because this will be one less thing to worry about and I can focus on getting the children settled and happy.
I am so appreciative of ANYTHING. I am trying so hard to get everything together. I am not choosy, I'm not a snob. I just want the children to have everything that they need.
I thnk of myself mostly as a granny. I am a loving grandma. I had to fight hard in court to get hte children where they belong. But when it comes to my grandbabies, those are my hearts. They are my pumpkins.
I'm most proud of the fact that I can take care of my grnadchildren in their mother's absence. I am healthy enough and loving enough to give them what they deserve.
I live with my husband and my 7-year old poodle named Harley. The kids call him their uncle!
I went to school at Thorton High School. I've worked at jobs including: Blue Cross/Blue Shield, BP, AT&T, Illinois Bell, and a couple others.
Something interesting about me is that I am an emotional creature. Everyone who meets me knows it.
Each need is validated by a nonprofit that knows the person and can verify that the help is necessary. Funds flow from Benevolent to the nonprofit, which then gets them to the person in need and lets us know how it went. Learn more »
Watch Alexis's video
I have known Shivaun for about three months. She first came to our office when her daughter was incarcerated, and her six grandchildren were taken away without being given her fair rights. Shivaun knew that she had to do something to protect her grandbabies and her daughter's rights, so she sought help at our office.
I think meeting this need is important because connecting children with their incarcerated mothers helps the whole family. These six children need to be able to talk to their mother - they need to know she is ok. She needs to hear from them, too, in order to rehabilitate and have a chance to start over.
This will move the recipient's life forward by allowing her to focus on the other needs for the children and not worrying about scraping together pennies to be able to let her daughter call the grandchildren.
Shivaun is a passionate, caring, hilarious woman. She leads with her heart in all she does.