Melissa from Chicago, IL

Taking care of my sisters while mom is in jail; need help w/ clothes and school supplies

I am taking care of my two little sisters who are growing fast. I need clothes and shoes for both girls and school supplies for the 7th grader.


Melissa with school clothes and supplies for her younger sisters Sep 27, 2012

I just want to thank everybody for everything you have given to us. I really appreciate it, it's going to be a really big help. So, thanks so much.



I need clothes and shoes for my two little sisters and school supplies for the one who is in seventh grade. This includes shirts and pants, nightgowns, size nine toddler shoes, size six shoes and school supplies for my one sister who is in the seventh grade. 

Meeting this need will help me because I really can't afford to get the girls what they need. They deserve to have clothing that fits them, shoes that go on their feet, and supplies for school. It's just so hard to get them what they need. I know in a few months my mom will be back, and we will be better able to take of everyone, but right now, I really need help.

Meeting this need will help me achieve future goals because it would help the girls and be one less thing on my plate. I want to work in early childhood education, so I don't mind taking care of my sisters, but things are really hard financially.

Since my mom was arrested, my little sisters have grown a lot. The 3 year-old has grown out of all of her clothes and shoes. My 12 year-old sister needs things like a calculator and school uniforms.

Right now, my biggest challenge is trying to get around with the three children and get them the things they need. I don't have a babysitter or anyone to watch the kids. I took the girls because no on e else would take them, and they need someone. They shouldn't go into foster care. I love them a lot, and I'm the closest to them in age. But this is very hard.

I really think things will get better in the next six months, but right now we are really having a hard time. My sisters deserve to have what they need, but I can't provide everything for them. 

My mother was arrested and put in jail about six months ago. I'm only 20 years old, but I took my two younger sisters to live with me. They are 3 and 12 years old. Three months after they came to live with me, I had a baby myself. Now I am raising all three of the girls. My mom will probably be in jail for a few more months, and it is challenging to take care of all the girls by myself. Even after my mom gets released, I'll probably have to keep the girls for several more months. 

I really think things will get better in the next six months, but right now we are really having a hard time. My sisters deserve to have what they need, but I can't provide everything for them.

I think of myself mostly as a very caring, open person. I don't know the words, but I guess that I have an open heart. I love my little sisters like they are my own children. I know I am only 20 years-old, but I want to be the best parent I can be for them.

I am most proud of being able to make a home for myself, my baby, and my sisters under these circumstances. I make sure that everyone is clean, fed, and in school.

I've worked at jobs including Party City, auditing at a warehouse, and as a receptionists at a spa. Something interesting about me is one day I hope to work in early childhood development. 

Need funded!

Thank you for helping Melissa fund this need.

$365of $360

Need funded!

13 supporters


This need has been validated by Alexis from CLAIM (Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers)

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Validated by Alexis from CLAIM (Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers) (What does this mean?)

I have known Melissa's mother for several months. We begun meeting with her in the jail after she attended one of our classes. We quickly learned about her wonderful daughter, Melissa. After speaking with Melissa several times, we invited her to our offices and spent time with her, her daughter, and her little sisters.

I think meeting this need is important because these are children who are truly at risk. If Melissa hadn't stepped up to care for her sisters, they would have done into foster care. Instead, Melissa is raising them with a lot of love and warmth. However, things are hard. Melissa is only 20 years old, and she has her own three month old baby, she was evicted from her home because of her mother's arrest, and now she is raising her 3 year-old and 12 year-old sisters. They children need clothing as the weather gets colder. They need shoes that fit. With all they've already been through, they shouldn't have to worry about having a sweater or socks.

This will move the recipients life forward by allowing her to concentrate on the other things she needs until her mother is released from jail in a few months. She has her high school diploma, and her next goal is to go into early childhood education. Not worrying about her sisters having clothes or school supplies will help her to move to those next steps.

We meet a lot of families, and they are all very deserving. I have to say, though, Melissa is one of the sweetest young women I've met. She cares so very much and deeply for her little sisters. She stepped up when no one else would. I've watched her clean their faces, make sure they have food, and tear up when describing how badly she wants then to have the clothing they deserve. Meeting this need would mean so much to them. Thank you very much for helping them. 

About Alexis

My job title is Pro Bono and Staff Attorney. I have been in this position since April of 2012. My work involves helping incarcerated mothers, formerly incarcerated mothers, and the caretakers of their children. What I like about my job is I get to see families brought together. In the future, I… Read more