Jennifer Calandra is a mother and military veteran who overcame poverty and homelessness to build a safe and stable life for herself and her two precious children.
Two years ago, Jennifer and her family were living in what she describes as a violent neighborhood when a stray bullet flew through the wall of her daughter’s room. “Had we been home, my daughter might not be alive,” she said.
She knew she had to leave the neighborhood, but tough times financially after a divorce left her few options. Thanks to help from United Way and its partners, Jennifer found a way out.
She secured transitional housing, took classes to get her family budget on track and was connected with affordable housing in a safe neighborhood. Now, Jennifer is remarried and her children are thriving, riding bikes outside and helping in the community garden.
“Because of the help from United Way and its partners, my life has changed in ways that I couldn’t have even have imagined a year ago,” Jennifer told us. “And not just my life. My children’s lives and their children’s lives.”