Moving Into Success: A Single Mom and Her Three Kids

Yasmine, 35, was born in New Jersey, one of four siblings. She had dreams of becoming a writer, always keeping journals where she detailed her life’s ups and downs. But motherhood and an abusive relationship set her off track and she found herself in Arizona in need of an escape. She and her kids got on a bus and four days later, she arrived in Washington, D.C. where she stayed at My Sister’s Place, a nonprofit for domestic violence survivors. About nine months ago, she and her three kids, Lily, age 6, Cody, age 4 and little Ethan age 3 moved into NEW’s New Horizons, a permanent-supportive program for mothers and children .

Yasmine is grateful for NEW and her case managers. “No matter what, it’s nice to know that our den is our den.”

Yasmine is upbeat and hopeful despite her challenges and her love and care for her children is obvious. While Yasmine is working 16-32 hours a week at night as a concierge in Northwest, her mom or neighbor watches the kids. The flexibility of her job allows her to be at home during the day to help with online school. She gets home around 8 am, squeezes in a short nap, and then gets her kids dressed and ready for the day. Lily and Cody log on to virtual school at their nearby school.

“I try to be as creative as possible with the kids,” Yasmine says. “We find playgrounds and go on nature walks. I try to keep them as active as possible.” Lily loves sticks, bugs and all things nature. Cody loves trucks and he runs down the sidewalk when he sees one drive by. Ethan loves the drums and will take anything, a spoon, a pencil, and start a beat. (“And he’s good!” his mom says.)

“I try to let them show me how to be a mom,” Yasmine says. “In order to maintain my sanity, I have to let them lead.”

Yasmine still has dreams of becoming a writer. She has 14 college credits but she doesn’t have time to finish at this point. “Until I get an extra hour for myself…” she says. But she already has a title and a couple pages of her first book, “Melon Street,” a memoir. Maybe if things calm down soon, she could take an online writing class. But then she’s also trying to get Lily into a ballet class, Cody into a Karate class, and she would love to find a little drum set for Ethan.

“I’m trying to battle being complacent,” she says. “NEW is very appreciated, but this is a starting place not a stopping place.”

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It’s been a challenging time for all of us as we adjust our days, our budgets and our expectations to COVID-19. And now, add a city and country grasping for footing after the death of an unarmed black man by a white police officer and we all feel even more out of control, unstable, and concerned about the future. Here at NEW we know that one way we can process our own feelings is to think about the needs and feelings of others.

We need you. The women need you. Your community needs you. Now more than ever women and children in DC need a safe and stable place to live.