Tell us your story below!
My name is Litzka, and this is a letter I have been wanting to write for years. In 2004, I was approved for 4CS. This program for me has been heaven sent especially because I am a single mother. It allowed me to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from William Paterson University in 2007. If it weren’t for this program I would not have been able to give the life I felt my daughter deserved. Thanks to you many of my personal dreams and goals have been accomplished. Above, all as my daughter grew she witnessed how hard I was working for both of our future. In conclusion, this is just a REALLY BIG THANK YOU I have owed this program all these years.
My name is Mary. I am a mother, wife and a life-long fighter. Together with my husband, our three children and I we were forced to flee for our lives and safety and abandon Venezuela our country of birth. We carried the label of refugees (asylees) and had to adapt to so many changes with the priority being for us to obtain employment and learn the English language. Without family members to help us or support network and having no money it was impossible to see this dream come true. We could not afford to pay for childcare and therefore we were doomed to not survive this current family hardship. It was during this time that we found out about and came to 4CS of Passaic County. At 4CS of Passaic County, they listened to our plight and assessed our needs. Much to our surprise, they gave us the ideal support that we needed by approving us for a subsidy to pay for the care of our children. 4CS allowed us to obtain before and after care to ensure that we were able to work and go to school to learn English. They even paid for summer camp for the children when their school was out for the summer. The result of all of this has been that of a better quality of life for us as a family and we are very grateful to the entire team at 4CS of Passaic County that were so wonderful and motivational and a key component to our success as a family and hard working immigrant family.
My name is Zulma. I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Jersey City. When I was only 16, a 35-year-old man I knew raped me. From the start, I decided that I would keep and love my child but my community left me few choices. For almost two long years, me and my son stayed with the man. I tried leaving but I had no place to go and I ended up going back to him.
Finally, desperate and scared, I fled to a shelter and then begged my mother, who lived in Paterson, NJ, to take me and my son in. She then told me I needed to get assistance through social services.
I went to 4CS of Passaic County, Inc., to find daycare for my son and the financial help to pay for it so I could get a job. It wasn’t easy for me. I was feeling lost. I had a sense of worthlessness; that nothing is going to get better. I thought how disgusting it was that I have to go through this. I walked in, with tears in my eyes, and met Rosa LaLuz, the receptionist. She gave me this look that said it was safe to talk to her. I explained that Social Services gave me these papers. She said, ‘OK, calm down. This is what’s going on’. She explained everything to me, step by step—what they were asking for and why they were asking for it. Ms. LaLuz told me that everything would be fine. She told me, “It’s going to be OK. It’s just the beginning.” Those words stuck with me forever.
Ms. LaLuz connected me with a case manager who helped me find close, affordable quality daycare. She approached me in a human way without making me feel ashamed to be there. She wasn’t rude when she asked for documents. She explained how daycare worked and that this would be good for me and I could get a job. That was my first milestone.
Ms. LaLuz pushed me to go back to school. She told me about Passaic County Community College in Paterson and, after a few years, I thought maybe I could do this. I enrolled and I decided to pursue a career in social work. I knew I wanted to help other people. I saw Ms. LaLuz and others and I wanted to be like them and help other girls like me. I completed my associate’s degree and went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the School of Social Work at Rutgers University in Newark. Today, I work for a social-service agency helping with family services. I’m also working on completing her master’s degree in social work.
I wants to encourage other young women to not be afraid to go to 4CS for help. They are not there to hinder you but to boost you and help you get to the next milestone. They help you parent your child in a safe environment and build your life so someday you don’t need that assistance and can leave it for the next person who will need it. They are very welcoming. They want to help you and show you the way.
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