Ms. Burnside is a four-time cancer survivor and a single mother to her young son.
Ms. Burnside first discovered SOME while looking for a better life for her then-10-month-old son. She enrolled in SOME’s Center for Employment Training (CET) program to build skills that would make her a capable candidate to hire in the future. While she was in our job-training program, she learned about SOME’s affordable housing for families and she was able to move, with her son, into SOME’S Zagami House.
As strong a person as Ms. Burnside is, it helps to have a good team behind you. She worked with her case manager at SOME to establish a savings plan where she didn’t have to worry about the well-being of her son alone, or missed rent payments because she was too sick to work. The resident worked with her case manager by talking about budgeting, completing a budget and savings checklist, and working to sign a savings agreement to fit her needs. Her original goal for savings was to save to move out, however, she also wanted to save for emergency purposes in case she was too sick to support her son.
Once Ms. Burnside was preparing for employment and had a stable living situation, she was able to begin dealing with some of the past traumas that she had been facing. She began attending therapy sessions at SOME’s Behavior Health Clinic. Unbeknownst to her, she had been suffering from PTSD from childhood traumas, as well as mixed bipolar disorder.
Ms. Burnside and SOME staff could also now focus on her son, who was diagnosed with autism in the first grade. Together, they established an independent education plan (IEP) for her son so he could attend school in an environment better suited for him. SOME Place for Kids, our after-school program, was also an important resource, providing tutoring and socialization opportunities.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Burnside lost her job early in 2020. Not only that, she experienced the loss of her mother and her son’s biological father. Despite these significant challenges, she was able to support her son, now in second grade, through the challenges of distance learning—he was able to maintain his status as an honor roll student for the school year.
Ms. Burnside was connected to job and readiness classes through TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and made the honor roll herself this year in the program. Her program graduation was pushed back this year due to COVID-19.
Despite facing these significant challenges, Ms. Burnside was able to stick to the plan she developed with her case manager and by the end of 2020, she had saved over $8,000 dollars and raised her credit score by over 110 points. She is now taking entrepreneurial classes in hopes of starting her own business.