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My name is Sophie. I’m 23 years old, and I have a three-year-old son named Charlie. I work in sales at the mall, and it helps me to support my son. My dream is to one day be a nurse.
I am sitting in a chair in my manager’s office. Her face looks serious.
I hear the words: “I’m sorry, but your position has been eliminated.”
Now, I can’t focus on anything else she is saying. Did I hear her correctly?
I can’t seem to process her words. My mind is racing. Everything is falling apart so quickly.
One minute ago, I had a job that paid the rent, bought food, and helped me to afford daycare. How much money is in my bank account?
One minute ago, I was on my way to becoming a nurse. Will I have to quit school?
One minute ago, I was proud to be independent. But there are so many things that we need. I can’t do it alone. Where can I go for help?
My manager is walking me to the door. She shakes my hand and wishes me well.
I am alone now.
Think . . . Think . . . Think!
As tears begin to well in my eyes, the numbers 2-1-1 pop into my head. I reach for my phone.
* * *
I exhale deeply as I hang up the call. I’m not alone after all. A tear of gratitude rolls down my cheek.
I didn’t realize there were so many different services available in Washington County – not only for me, but for anyone who is in crisis. Life can change in an instant. The United Way can help when it does.
I am sure I will find another position soon with the job placement resources. And if we need it, I know where we can find the closest food pantry.
With the help of PA 2-1-1 Southwest, I now have a plan. Soon, Charlie and I will be back on track.