With four accomplished and active children, a fulltime job, and a passion for helping her community, Tina rarely has a moment to herself...and that is just the way she likes it.
Tina’s journey has not been an easy one. She was forced to flee not only an abusive relationship, but her home country as well. To find safety, Tina and her four young children immigrated to the United States and joined her brother in his small apartment on Chicago’s North Side. The older children were enrolled in the local elementary school, while Tina stayed home with her youngest. Before her life was turned upside down, Tina was surrounded by family and active in her community, but the trauma and isolation she now experienced, coupled with the stress and instability of six people crammed into a one-bedroom apartment, caused her to slowly dip into depression.
This all changed when Tina was introduced to HOW and received an apartment located right the street from a park where the children could play. Tina urged her kids to be active in school and immediately enrolled them in HOW’s Afterschool Program where they received academic tutoring and participated in enrichment activities thee days a week. Their immediate passion for learning and fun-loving nature eased the transition and they soon were performing above grade level and surrounded by friends.
For Tina, it was harder to make friends. But at the urging of her Case Manager, Ruby Konopka, she joined several HOW classes and quickly found her own supportive and welcoming community. This community included Ruby herself, who has helped Tina lay down roots in Chicago and continues to play an important role in her and the children’s lives.
Today, the family is flourishing. The kids, ages 8 to 14, still participate in HOW programs and are excelling at school, one already thinking about college, another performing far above grade level; the third is a gifted artist and the youngest, an aspiring athlete. Tina works a full-time job and is always striving to do more for her family. She is also active in her church community, attends HOW events, and continues to cook delicious homemade African food which she regularly shares with clients and staff (her most popular dish is her fufu!).