A Way to a New Beginning
A Jefferson City mother who experienced all three of those stressors at the same time found help at the same place. A place that makes a difference.
When you're three years old, anything can be a birthday cake. But at the Jefferson City Daycare, there's another reason to celebrate.
Krystal Norton is a teacher in the three-year-old room. Outside the classroom, Krystal worked hard to a build a home for her two children. But something she didn't expect threatened to topple it.
"It was basically leave or let the cycle of domestic violence continue," explained Krystal Norton. "I had files upon files, I mean I probably have a stack of files... police reports from this man. I just don't understand why it was me and my children that had to leave and not him."
Krystal had no home, no job and no one to care for her children. So this mother sought help from two United Way agencies. One was the Jefferson City Daycare Center.
"I saw a lady who had a lot of courage," said Donna Scheidt. And the other was the Rape and Abuse Crisis Service.
"If they have an abuse issue, we will help them with that. But children may also need daycare in the future and may also need health care. So it gives us an opportunity to meet with the other agencies and talk about some of those family needs and coordinate our community response to those needs," said Jim Clardy, Executive Director of the Rape and Abuse Crisis Service.
United Way funding makes a difference by keeping the 36 bed shelter running. At RACS, Krystal found food, clothing, counseling and a safe place for her kids to play.
And at the Jefferson City Daycare Center, Krystal found a job and someone to care for her own children. The daycare's pledge is to serve its 99 children ages birth to ten years of age. The center is sensitive to a family's ability to pay, as eighty percent of its families fall below the federal poverty line.
"United Way helps significantly with those families. If United Way did not help our daycare center, I firmly believe the center would close and there would be no help for these families," said Donna Scheidt, Executive Director of the Jefferson City Daycare.
Krystal went on to get her Child Development Associate's Degree. In addition to teaching about butterflies and ABC's, she learned a lesson herself.
"I became strong and through help from here, and the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, I am the woman I am today," explained Krystal Norton.
Even the best built towers can topple, but it's what the United Way does with the pieces that makes a difference.
The United Way of Central Missouri recently kicked off its fundraising campaign with a goal of $1.5 million.