When Shaquita Hicks walked into her daughter’s preschool classroom, Alani spied her and came running across the room, exclaiming, “You’re back, Mommy, you’re back!” Alani doesn’t know how true that statement is!

Shaquita Holds Alani In February 2012, when Alani was born, Shaquita was struggling. Her battles with unemployment, housing, and healthcare were compounded by a debilitating case of post-partum depression. Shaquita knew she needed help.

Fortunately, that help came from Family Lifeline, a Partnership for Families’ partner. As a client of their Children’s Health Involving Parents (CHIP) program, a nurse visited Shaquita’s home to provide health education and support for her and Alani, and a parent educator helped with her parenting skills. As her situation improved, Shaquita began working with Goodwill Industries, another PFF partner, to spruce up her resume and find meaningful job opportunities.

But there was still one piece of the puzzle missing… childcare. Alani needed the academic and social skills that are taught in preschool. And for Shaquita, childcare meant the chance for employment, health insurance, better health care, and family stability.

Shaquita’s daughter was on the waiting list for a spot in the VCU-HS Childcare Center (another PFF partner), located on the first floor of the Partnership’s home, the Northside Family Learning Center. While she waited, PFF staff evaluated Shaquita’s eligibility for a Partnership-funded scholarship, and Alani was accepted in May 2013. And with that giant step forward, a world of opportunity opened up for Shaquita and her family.Shaquita & Alani Cropped

Now Shaquita holds a position with full benefits at the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and she and Alani have never been happier. When asked what the Partnership’s scholarship has meant to her, Shaquita said, “This has meant EVERYTHING to us!”

To find out how you can help people just like Shaquita and Alani, call Veronica Fleming, Executive Director at 804-353-4264, ext. 101.