Impossible to Unstoppable

Imagine you’re a young single mother struggling to find affordable child care for your new baby. You need child care because you are striving to get your GED. With a GED, you hope you will be able to get a better job, and in turn, build a better life for you and your daughter. Only… you need child care to be able to get your GED, and you need your GED to get a job that will allow you to make enough money to afford child care. See the problem here?

This is the exact no-win situation Alyzeah Martinez found herself in.

As Alyzeah began to adjust to life as a new mother, she was having to rely on family and friends to take care of her daughter Luna so she could make it to class – child care was just too expensive. Alyzeah was struggling to piece together a child care plan. With everyone’s availability changing day-to-day, she began to miss class.

“I was asking family members to watch Luna during the day while I went to school and paying them [more than] $100 a week to do so,” Alyzeah said. “It was nearly impossible to find someone every day and I can’t afford to pay for child care myself.”

Alyzeah decided to enroll in a GED and job training program at American YouthWorks. The Youthbuild program at American YouthWorks begins when a young parent needing child care applies. Then, case managers work with the applicant to enroll their child in a quality child care program run by Child, Inc. The program accepts students regardless of their financial situation, successfully addressing one of the most challenging barriers to continuing education for parents with low-income.

United Way ATX noticed many parents in our community have the same issue as Alyzeah and decided to do something about it – funding grants to organizations solving this issue, like American YouthWorks and Child, Inc. Thanks to these grants, Alyzeah and thousands of parents like her are able to enroll their kids in quality child care as they strive for their GED or complete job skills training.

“The child care assistance through American YouthWorks helps me to have reliable [child care] each day and allows me to focus on my training,” Alyzeah said.

“We’re particularly proud of Alyzeah’s tenacity and her ability to remain positive, regardless of the challenges that come her way,” David Clauss, YouthBuild Program Director at American YouthWorks said. “Since enrolling in the program, Alyzeah has earned her GED, NCCER Construction Certification, OSHA-10 Certification, and CPR Certification. Now, she is continuing her construction training through the Casa Verde Builders AmeriCorps program.”

The future looks bright for Alyzeah and Luna.

The American YouthWorks and Child Inc. partnership is supported by United Way for Greater Austin’s Community Investment Grants. Learn more here.

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