Cashia Thomas, Detroit

Published on April 11, 2024 in

I’m from Detroit and I’m 34. It’s just myself and my four children. They are 9, 7, 4, and 18 months. Originally, I was just looking for Pre-K for my 4-year-old and childcare for my 18-month-old.

I was going to take my three oldest to Samuel Gompers, but they had a waiting list for Pre-K. It would have been a nightmare to pick up three kids from two different locations. If they were in high school and getting to school on their own, it would be different. But they are still young, and three kids at two different schools is a pain. It’s not realistic when there is just one of me.

I’ve had to seek out a lot of different resources because I’m a veteran and a divorcee with four kids. On my own, I’ve done a lot of research and I always reach out to United Way for resources. I know them as an organization that helps parents by providing resources for underprivilege families. When I called United Way, they told me about Connect4Care Kids.

I spoke with a rep over the phone, and she stayed connected with me throughout the whole process. She kept reaching out to me and making sure I had the help I needed. Then, George Washington Carver Academy continuously reached out to me to ask, “We have a spot available for your Pre-K student, is that something you still need?” And I was like, “Yes, it is! Thank you for asking.”

When I toured the school, I really liked the way they talked to me and the environment. It felt very warm. I thought, “Well, I guess my other two should go here, too.” So, I ended up signing them up and enrolling them as well. I knew it was going to be a good fit for all my kids, except for the 18-month-old, of course. Now, all three go to George Washington Carver Academy and the 18-month-old, he’s in a home daycare.

If I didn’t have childcare, I wouldn’t be able to work and then I’d be in a worse situation than I already am. I mean I have four kids, and no one is babysitting four kids. As a recent divorcee, it’s very difficult to transition from being married to being single with children. It’s a very sharp learning curve with a lot of adjustments needing to be made. I needed help that I never did before. If you’ve never been single with your kids, you don’t even know where to look or where to being.

United Way’s resources have been so helpful in my transition. As a platform, United Way put everything in one central location for me to seek out and access the resources— a tremendous help. I appreciate them for being so persistent even when I was busy, or when I was working. I would say, “Hey, could you call me back at this time?” and they were persistent in reaching out to make sure that all of my needs were met, up until they were met.

Everyone I talked to has been flexible, and I can’t say that you all haven’t tried your darndest to make sure that I got everything I need. Even now, you all are still giving me information I need, like “And oh, by the way if you didn’t get it— reach out to 2-1-1″. You all have really created a safety net for single parents.