My family and I are very grateful for the Empower Illinois scholarship, which we have received over the past several years. My husband and I have four kids. On the day that our third child was born in 2010, my husband lost his job and was subsequently unemployed for 15 months. During my maternity leave for that same child, I lost my job. That was a dark period for our family and the effects have lasted quite a few years. At that time, our oldest was in preschool at a Catholic grade school. We had a lot of tough decisions to make. Should we try to stay in our house? Should we keep our kids in Catholic school? We ultimately sold our house in a short sale and moved in with my parents. However, our dedication to Catholic school never waivered, and we decided that we would keep our kids in Catholic school no matter what.
This led to some difficult years. Money that we could have used to save for a down payment on our own home instead went to tuition. My parents supported us for several years. We eventually got jobs and I got my teaching license and started teaching at a Catholic school. I have always felt that it is a shame that for many Catholic school teachers, sending their own kids to a Catholic school can be nearly impossible financially. We are now on our feet, have purchased the home from my parents, and we both work full time.
Empower Illinois has been a complete godsend. We have gotten this scholarship for the past several years, and it gives us some breathing room financially. Both of our cars are at about 100,000 miles and we know we have a big purchase or two coming up. Our oldest is starting at a Catholic high school this year, which we thought was out of reach. We are so happy that we can continue to have our kids in schools that reflect the values and morals that we try to instill at home. We are incredibly grateful both for ourselves and for all the other families (many in more difficult circumstances than we are) that Empower Illinois continues to help.
My children thrive at their school. They are doing well academically, but just as importantly, we know that the teachers and staff are fostering their spiritual and social development as well. It is truly their second home and we could not be happier. Thank you so very much.