A Home for the Holidays

Leslie and LaBrandon

When her husband of ten years died a few years ago, Leslie and her young son left their home in Kentucky and moved back home to Michigan.

But enough time there reminded her of why she left home in the first place: bad influences she didn’t want around her 12-year-old, LaBrandon.

Leslie needed a fresh start. When a friend offered space in her Phoenix home for a short stay, she jumped at the chance to move west, vowing to find a way to make a new life for her and LaBrandon.

During her marriage, her husband paid the bills, ensuring there was money for food and LaBrandon’s needs. Leslie managed the home and took care of their son, never even having to do so much as write a check or pay a bill.

Leslie knew she was going to need a lot of help making it on her own with her son. As soon as they arrived in Arizona, she reached out to UMOM.

Leslie was overwhelmed by how much support was available. For the first time, she had the opportunity to learn new skills to help her find a job to become independent and support her son.

She utilized as many benefits available at UMOM’s Workforce Development Center as she could, getting every certification possible to ensure she is job ready.

“I took all types of workshops. I was able to get clothes for work, a fingerprint clearance card, and a food handlers’ card.”

Her son, LaBrandon, is having his needs met as well. He struggles with ADHD and other health issues, which are now being treated by pediatricians at UMOM’s Wellness Center. He’s gotten a clean bill of dental health and been referred for orthodontic work.

Leslie is currently working as a security guard and wants to become a restaurant server in the future, where she can interact with guests and work with people.

A few weeks ago, Leslie and LaBrandon moved into their new apartment. She is relieved and excited about the holidays. Although it will just be her and LaBrandon together for Thanksgiving, she has plans to go all out and make a turkey dinner with all the fixings for them.

For Christmas, she will finally be able to spend it with family in comfort: Leslie’s daughter and grandchildren have already planned a visit to the Valley to be with Leslie and LaBrandon.

“I’m going to get a brand-new start in a brand-new place. I’m so blessed.”

As she thinks about how thankful she is UMOM was available to help her and LaBrandon, Leslie sighs with emotion.

“UMOM put a roof over our heads and made a bad situation bearable. It’s been a long hard road, but we’re finally in a good place and have a lot to look forward to.”