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It’s just me and my three kids. I have two boys and a girl, ages 15, 13, and 10. My husband passed away five years ago. I was a stay-at-home mom, and we lost our financial means. Today, when I’m not working, I’m raising three kids on my own. I try to raise them not just for now, but for the future – to prepare them for what’s ahead.

I didn’t want to pull my kids out of their Catholic school. There was so much going on in their lives. I wanted to keep things as normal as possible for them – keeping their friendships and our community intact.

When my husband passed away, I had to try to figure out whether they could stay or if we’d have to move schools. It was really hard, in all honesty. This was the school they’ve always been at. It began to look like I would need to send them elsewhere because of our financial means.

When I heard about Empower Illinois and these scholarships, that was the first glimmer of hope we had. It has been such a blessing for our family. The tax credit scholarships have really helped and allowed my kids to stay at their school.

When we found out we got the scholarship, I couldn’t believe it. It was such a big relief, such a huge weight off my shoulders. I was so happy and relieved we were able to keep this community, and my children would be able to keep their friendships and learning environment.

I wanted to give my kids some stability in their unstable world, and these scholarships made that possible. This school is our community. It’s smaller and more intimate, which is important for us. It has been like their second home. We look out for each other here. There’s a religious component to it… and this ‘it takes a village’ mentality.

After my husband’s passing, they were very supportive. The outpouring of support we received from our school and from our parish… I couldn’t put a price on that.

What happened to us could happen to anyone. It was a shock, we didn’t expect it, of course. These scholarships have been such a huge help for our family. They gave us hope. To have even the slightest amount of help has been so important.

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