Mary from Chicago, IL

Working, parenting & about to attend college; need laptop for my schoolwork

Managing a schedule of work, school, and being a mom is going to be hard, but my study time could be taken with me if I have a laptop computer.


Message from Mary Dec 5, 2012

I wanted to tell everyone that I got my laptop computer and I am very grateful for the thoughtful help in making me achieve my goal. I had orientation two weeks ago at Kennedy King, a city college of Chicago, for my introduction to business classes and know that having this will make my school work easier to accomplish and manage. I appreciate your help and I can't wait to show my kids that they can go to college just like their Mom!


I need a laptop to assist me in furthering my education. This includes a laptop computer, Microsoft Office suite so I can write my papers for the community college I attend, and a printer.

Meeting this need will help me because it will allow me to start school and be ready to succeed. I have been putting aside money in my savings for books and additional fees that may come up when school starts in January 2013, and having this laptop would just make it easy and effortless to begin my life as a student again.

Right now, my biggest challenge is that I am making $8.75 an hour on a part-time basis and trying to make it all work with five children and myself under one roof. I know that managing a schedule of work, school, and being a mom is going to be hard enough, but it would be helpful if I could make sure that my study time could be taken with me if I have a laptop computer. If I relied only on my personal savings only to get this laptop, it would take me over a year, but class starts in January and I don't have that kind of time.

Meeting this need will help me achieve future goals because I believe that taking business classes will not only assist me in my professional life by helping me to learn how to open up my own business and taking the steps to do so, but on a personal level I will also learn how to better save money and manage my finances so that I have something to pass on to my children.

My current situation is that I am a part-time retail employee and a single mother to five children. This year I decided to go back to school because I am not making the kind of money I would like to be, and I want to open up opportunities for myself and my children. I have a food and sanitation license already, and by being enrolled in a local community college and pursuing business classes, I am hoping one day to use both that license and my degree to open up a restaurant. That way, my children will have a family business to fall back on if anything should happen to me and I can create a new life for my family as well.

I think of myself mostly as a hardworking mother. I have five children from 5 to 21 years old, and my focus is on them. I work to provide for them, and I leave work to come home and take care of them--from helping with homework to having movie nights as a family. I grew up in a family where not much love was shown to me, so I am making sure to give extra love to my children and I want to provide them with a future.

I'm most proud of how far I have come. To overcome the hurt from the way I was raised and with my family, I drank a lot in my teen years to numb the pain and I was very insecure. By getting more involved in church, and coming through Cara, and focusing the love I had inside of me towards my kids, I have been able to become comfortable in my own skin and be a better mother to my own children.

I live with my children in an apartment of our own.

I went to school at Englewood High School and am now pursuing classes at Kennedy King City College.

I've worked at jobs including customer service, from working in big retail chains and hotels, to the food and service industry in restaurants as a cook and server.

Something interesting about me is I absolutely love board games and card games. Monopoly and Sorry are my favorites, and I make sure that we have family game nights at my house.

Need funded!

Thank you for helping Mary fund this need.

$610of $610

Need funded!

4 supporters


This need has been validated by Lauren from The Cara Program

Recent supporters

  1. $25
  2. $5
  3. $575


Validated by Lauren from The Cara Program (What does this mean?)

I have known Mary since she began at Cara as a student in November 2011. Though I was not her Individual Development Specialist at the time (there was a student changeover for me in the month of August), I had heard about her presence and the motivation she showed while participating in The Cara Program. Even though she had challenges with steady daycare and with falling ill while in the program, Mary always persevered because not obtaining employment and succeeding in the program was simply not an option for her here. I will continue to meet with Mary until April of next year, when she makes one year on the job.

I think meeting this need is important because Mary is already forced to juggle the tasks of family management and her professional life as a single mother. This requires her to be home a great deal and utilizing a computer at a library would open up challenges for her schedule and her childcare. Additionally, I've already seen Mary save nearly $400 to be prepared to pay for books and supplies for her upcoming return to school, so I know that she is putting in as much of an effort on her end as possible, so an additional boost from generous funders would be especially beneficial.

This will move the recipient's life forward by allowing her to have the flexibility needed to pursue her bigger dream of owning her own business. Eventually, as her younger children who reside with her get older, the laptop will also be of use to them when they need computer access at home for school. This gift will enrich their lives simultaneously.

About Lauren

My job title is Individual Development Specialist, a combination of a job coach and case manager. I have been in this position since September 2011. My work involves providing career coaching and generalized case management services for individuals who have just become employed to ensure progress… Read more