United Way: Families Ambassador Holly Taughrin Talks Helping Students, Growing Up Poor
by Holly Taughrin, United Way: Families Ambassador
The importance of United Way: Families is not lost on me. As a child, when my parents were together, they both worked, yet we were poor. I remember receiving HEAP and nothing more. If it wasn't for the help of extended family I am confident that we would have gone hungry more often than not. We were very lucky to have the support of grandparents who were able to get us our school supplies, and fitting clothes, but nothing ever "nice." I distinctly remember feeling uncool because of my hand-me-downs and not so nice clothes. As a mom now, I know I sometimes over correct with our girls. There is a lot of shame and fear wrapped up in being a child in poverty, and that feeling, that fear, lingers.
The impact of United Way bridging the gap, and bringing attention to it's existence cannot be overstated. The ability to help these working parents, and these children is so huge and will allow for both parents and kids to achieve and feel pride in themselves. I see it daily in my classroom, it is clear the children who are in need. We have a backpack program where we send food home on the weekends. We do our best to be quiet about the kids who take, even in a school with high needs there is some stigma to taking the help. I think that is a whole other monster, one that likely effected my parents as well. It is okay to get help and now thanks to the work of United Way: Families, more help is within reach for so many families in our community.