Ambitions for herself and her children
by Karen Johnese, FFH Board Vice President
Beatriz joined Faith Family Hospitality one month ago, desperate to find a safe place to shelter her family. FFH was the only program in Boulder, Weld and Larimer Counties that had room for her and her four children in a drug-free environment.
Life has never been easy for Beatriz. Born in Mexico, her mother moved to California when Beatriz was four years old. Her mother married an American and had four more children with him. From ages 12-17, her stepfather made sexual advances. Beatriz knew she had to leave, and yearned for a man to love and protect her. She left home with the first man she found and followed him to Mexico. After several more difficult relationships, she made it back to the U.S. She married her former Sunday School teacher, 18 years her senior and whom she had known since the age of 14. Surely he was a good man. When she realized that he also was troublesome, she moved out. He took their money out of the bank, cut off her electricity, and filed for divorce.
Despite all that she has been through, Beatriz has a lovely smile, a positive attitude, and a strong work ethic. Since she left high school before graduation, she got her GED and has worked wherever she could. At first, she would make tamales and barbacoa in her kitchen and sell them to her trailer park neighbors and friends to pay the rent. She later worked at a cable manufacturing company, polishing cables. She would take any job, and says, “I don’t know why people are so picky.”
Her current challenge is getting immigration status, a process that may take 4 more months. She is supposed to receive alimony and child support, but doesn’t want to rely on it as she has yet to receive any. Beatriz talks passionately about her children going to college and contemplates having two jobs so she can save money for their tuition. She often asks the older two what they want to study. Their answers change daily, but they have that goal and are functioning well in school. She is grateful for the stability that FFH can provide her and her children. Beatriz especially appreciates FFH’s parenting support group, where she can hear how other parents handle the behaviors she deals with and feels that she is not alone. Despite what her six-year old son says, she now knows that “she is the boss.”