I’m a student at SFCC where I’m pursuing a degree in Social Services. I feel like the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” really pertains to me, because when people look at me and my family they think we really have it together. My husband and I have been married for almost 21 years, and we have 4 beautiful children. However, people don’t know what it’s like behind closed doors. They don’t see the financial struggles we face on a daily basis.
This time last year, we were a two income family, I was excited about starting back to school in the spring, and things were good for us. Unfortunately, after we lost our rent assistance, our rent went from $400/month to $900/month, and shortly thereafter, my daughter suffered a major sports-related injury and required surgery for a torn ACL, PCL, MCL, and Meniscus. So in addition to nursing her back to health, I was trying to balance a full school load, and on top of that, I unexpectedly lost my sister (my best friend, my buddy) to a massive stroke at only 40 years old.
With all of that going on, I didn’t realize how bad things had gotten financially, until we started to receive final notices in the mail. We tried to pay at least a little on each bill, just so we could avoid losing our utilities, phone, and vehicles. This went on for several months until it was just too much to bear. So, I sat down and did something that I really was embarrassed to do: I asked for help. We were 2 months behind on our rent and the same for our vehicle payments. We were behind on our Avista and city utilities. We didn’t have cleaning supplies. I had even gotten to the point that I was making 2 rolls of toilet paper out of one roll (so we could have tissue in both bathrooms). I was overwhelmed. The next thing I know, thanks to the amazing support of my professor, I received the Social Services/Gerontology Scholarship, and also the Richard and Susan Stannard Scholarship. With those funds, I was able to pay one month in rent, get cleaning supplies for our home, and also get things that our children needed.
Yes, we’re still behind on our rent. Yes, we’re still struggling to make ends meet. But, with the scholarship funds we received, I was able to breathe again. And our landlord is really working with us until we can get caught up on things. I’m SO thankful for the people that have reached out to us. We even had people giving us toilet paper. It may seem like a little thing to most, but it’s huge to me.