When our doors first opened in March, it wasn’t long before we had our first family. Nicole walked in, five kids in tow, looking for childcare–it was clear that she prioritized her kids and would do pretty much anything for them. Her son, Javen, was one of our first students in our after-school program. We welcomed him into the Dream Center family with open arms, encouraged and rooted for him daily, and were quick to see the effect it had on him. Soon enough, his mom noticed changes too. When Nicole came to pick Javen up one day, she mentioned that his behavior at school had begun to fluctuate in a strange way. On the days Javen came to the Dream Center, his behavior card was always green, for good behavior. On the days he didn’t, his card was red, for poor behavior. Upon noticing this change, Nicole began to spend more time at the Dream Center. She was welcomed in with the same open arms that embraced her son, and she grew to be not just a part of the Dream Center family, but a friend to the team.
When Nicole, Javen, Lilly, Anna, Brielle, and Shakayla first walked into the Dream Center, we saw a dedicated parent, whose concern was only ever for her beautiful, smart kids, and not for herself. Now when they walk in the doors, we still see those beautiful, smart kids, but we also see a mother who has truly blossomed. Through the friendships she has found here and the Circles program she has participated in here, Nicole has rediscovered her worth. Nicole has recognized that in order for her kids to be priority, she must also make herself a priority, to be the best she can be for her kids. Nicole has set several different goals for herself over the course of the 16-week Circles Program, both big and small. Recently, she got hired for an incredible job that will help her take care of her family in a game-changing way. She also enrolled in classes at Missouri State University, pursuing a degree in criminology. Nicole dreams of helping other women like her, and we know that she will change so many lives when this dream becomes a reality. We are incredibly proud of and thankful for this family, and we are so excited to keep celebrating these victories with our friend Nicole and her sweet kids. Families like this are why we do what we do, and they are truly the heartbeat of this organization. To hear Nicole tell you her story, watch this video.
Note: Circles is a national organization that provides education to families on how to get out of poverty permanently. The classes include subjects like setting goals, saving money/budgeting, parenting, and forming healthy relationships. We are grateful to have a chapter of the organization held at the Springfield Dream Center.