Tiny feet scamper across the room followed by a series of giggles. A toy bucket is dumped onto the floor, and 2-year-old Olivia picks up a stuffed fish and begins swooping it through the air. Olivia and her mom, Amanda, live in our duplex for Single Mothers with Young Children. They’ve lived here since February, after shorter stays at Harbor House and Homeless Connections.
Little Olivia has lived in 5 different places in her short life, and COTS has been the longest place she has called “home.” Amanda moved to Wisconsin when Olivia was still an infant, fleeing an abusive relationship with Olivia’s father and looking to be closer to parts of her family. At first, she struggled to find a stable place, and has been plagued with ongoing health issues that started when she was diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago. COTS appealed to her as a place to, “be able to get back on our feet and have a healthier routine.” After learning about COTS, she moved in 2 days later.
At COTS, Amanda has been able to take a breath and begin planning for the future. This is her first time being the only adult in the home. “I’ve always been the one taking care of everyone else,” she explains. Now, she is able to focus on just herself and her daughter. She is learning to have healthy relationships with others and build up a support system. She joined the ServiceWorks Program and recently became employed as a transitional employee at Riverview Gardens, where she learns transferable job skills and ultimately will be connected with, “a job were I’ll have financial stability and that will work with daycare.”
Olivia’s teacher stops by to let Amanda know how well Olivia is doing in daycare. In fact, they’ve moved her into a more advanced group. Amanda grins as she says, “Now we have a better life…Olivia can go outside and play. COTS gives me that support, that outside perspective. They’re trying to help me out.” Olivia and Amanda have the stable environment they always wanted.