Lives Changed

Slow Spiral into Crisis

I was born and raised in the Springfield area to wonderful parents. Even though I did well in school I eventually was introduced to a few friends who were known to make bad decisions. Those bad decisions would eventually spill over into my life at a young age. I started staying out late during school nights and experimenting with illegal drugs.

My life story wouldn’t just end there. I would go on to have 2 children at a young age which placed more stress on an already stressed lifestyle. I struggled through high school and eventually would have to drop out and find work. I got a job at a factory where I was placed on a production line with a lot of moving parts as well as moving machines. Within a year of working there, my hair got caught up in a machine which ripped my scalp off. They rushed me to the hospital along with my scalp and was able to reattach most of my scalp. Luckily my hair eventually grew back but left a scar around my head. While recovering I learned that my sister had been murdered. This was just another attack that I wasn’t expecting, but I held on.

I just felt lucky to be alive. Although hard, I could look past the scar as long as my kids were alive and kicking.  Those kids mean so much to me. I wish I could say life became easier, but I still continued to struggle for years to come. Mental health problems set in as well. I eventually was able to get on disability, but it was difficult raising my family on such a small, limited income. Although I have food stamps and benefit from holiday support programs such as Crosslines my kids didn’t have much. Their clothing wasn’t the best, but they always appreciated what I would give them.  My kids would often have to skip sports programs in school due to the lack of income that I had. I also didn’t have a vehicle. Me and the kids would often have to rely on others for transportation and sometimes would have to use the bus.

I can handle all that has happened to me, but the hardest part is that my kids were often made fun of due to the lack of nice clothing and the behavior problems that one had developed. Almost weekly I would get a call from the school about my child’s behavior. I would be required to come and get my child from school during these episodes, but since I didn’t have a vehicle I would sometimes have to ride the bus which would take at least an hour or so to get to the school.

Last year, I was able to get help from Crosslines for my utility bill and a deposit to get into a much cheaper and safer place to live with my kids. The new home is within walking distance of the school and the financial relief has helped my family thrive. It means so much just to get a friendly hi from a complete stranger that is willing to pay attention to my needs. I am so thankful to have people who care and Crosslines for their support.

I know I am not the only one struggling in Springfield. There are other parents living on a fixed income, struggling to pay utility bills and rent or buy clothes and food for their kids, and possibly don’t have a vehicle to make it easier. It is hard to rebound from the crisis that began as a trickle, but over time became a roaring river of uncertainty and struggle. I now recommend Crosslines to anyone I know that is in crisis. Crosslines can’t fix everything, but they can be there to give a much-needed hand up to get back on the right track.

Kristen, Crosslines Client

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