AUSTIN, Texas — For a long time Cristina Guajardo had a vision of what starting a family would look like.

What You Need To Know

  • Mother enrolled in the Jeremiah Program

  • Groups is dedicated to breaking generational poverty

  • Offers resources like housing and education

“My plan when I was pregnant was that I was going to be a stay-at-home mom, and so for me it was really difficult to have to let go of that idea,” she said.

Regrettable circumstances at home broke that vision when her child was only 3 months old. She became a single mom.

“I just didn’t believe in myself enough to know that I could do it on my own and that I was enough for my child,” said Guajardo.

While she sought answers and guidance she stumbled upon the Jeremiah Program, an organization dedicated to breaking generational poverty by offering resources like housing and education. 

“Let’s be very clear that this is a challenging moment for everyone in our country but the tax, and the duplicity, and the exponential impact on folks already experiencing poverty, marginalized communities, is pretty unparalleled,” said Jeremiah Program president Chastity Lord.

Joining the Jeremiah Program begins with an application process and a commitment to take on intensive empowerment courses. Over the course of 12 weeks, Guajardo was forced to reckon with insecurities among many other things.

“Healthy relationships, self-esteem, all those different things, so it was really hard to have to face all of those issues. But it was a great way to break some of that down and really start healing,” she said.

About a year and a half later, Guajardo is the author of this new chapter of her life.

“Now I am surrounded by other moms who are going through the same things. I am, and we’ve been able to create this sisterhood and really support each other and just encourage each other along this journey,” she said.

Even amid a growing pandemic, the Jeremiah Program has continued to offer support via delivered instructional materials to help moms keep their children engaged and learning. Guajardo says she is still learning to balance classes of her own while her son is at home. It’s an unusual time, but for Guajardo the experience with Jeremiah Program has been a critical learning lesson that she hopes her son will one day appreciate.

“I hope that by seeing the help that I received he turns into a giver as well. That he becomes a helper. That he’s able to contribute to his community,” she said.