“I have two little children. I am from Mexico and moved to Mobile. I want to raise my kids bilingual. It is a challenge to find good quality books in both languages but The Dolly Parton Reading Initiative provides books in both languages and we are waiting to get into the program. My oldest is two and a half and my youngest is two months old. I started reading to them when I was pregnant because I wanted them to hear my voice and words from the earliest age to help their vocabulary and language skills. One of the books I read was Am I Your Mother? by Dr. Suess. It was in English and Spanish. I don’t like reading. I want better for my kids. I want them to love reading. I want them to be bilingual so they can talk with their grandma and the rest of their family when I take them to Mexico in the summers.
I grew up in Mexico and came here for college at South Alabama when I was 17. My sister was married to a professor here and said I could live with them. I got a job and never went back to home. I got a job as a computer programmer, got married. I am 44 and waited to have kids.
This year has been hard and very stressful. I had gestational diabetes while I was pregnant. While I was pregnant I was fired from my job of 22 years and I realized I am disposable. It was also the beginning of COVID-19. My sister was going come to help me with my toddler, then she couldn’t. I had no help besides my husband. There was also worry about going to the store and exposing my newborn to the virus. Then my dog died. But I am not the only one going through these hard times. The good part of COVID is we are able to spend more time together as a family, cook together, and walk with our two babies in the afternoon.
I hope to work for a non-profit when I go back to work. I want my children to grow up in a world where there is no hatred of them There is love for all people regardless of the color of their skin or the language they speak.”
Our Southern Souls is partnering with the United Way of Southwest Alabama to raise $50,000 to get at least 2,020 kids off partner agencies’ waiting lists and into the programs they need. This will be more kids getting a Big Brother or Big Sister or into the Boys and Girls Clubs. More kids getting weekend backpack meals or fed through Feeding the Gulf Coast. It will help expand the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Mobile County and provide free books for kids. It will provide shelter to a few more families with kids, and help a few more mothers with children get away from domestic violence.
To give, text “2020 Pledge” to 41444 or go to www.uwswa.org.