New York Times Neediest Cases

Hope and a Laptop for College - New York Times

Someday, Jada Williams hopes to become a veterinarian. “I’ve always loved animals,” she said. “They always seem to make me happy.” But the path toward attaining that goal has not been an easy one.

When she was in 10th grade, Ms. Williams, now 18, moved with her mother to Catskill, N.Y., a town about 80 miles north from where she grew up. It took a while to get used to her new surroundings, but over time, she grew to like it. In 11th grade, she began a relationship with a boy who was a year older and she became pregnant. When her mother found out, she cried because she, too, had gotten pregnant at a young age. When Ms. Williams’s boyfriend found out about the pregnancy, he broke up with her.

Ms. Williams’s son, Jayden, was born at the beginning of her senior year of high school. With occasional babysitting help, she managed to graduate with her class while working part time as a cashier at Kmart. She applied and was accepted into Westchester Community College. But when her mother suddenly moved out and stopped paying the rent, she had to put her future plans on hold. With no other options, she was relieved to find the Elinor Martin Residence for Mother and Child in Yonkers, which is an affiliate of the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York.

Ms. Williams has been at the shelter for about three months with Jayden, who is now a year old, but she is certainly not giving up on her dreams. “I’m hoping to be on my own, have the job I want, and not have to rely on anyone,” she said. The Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, one of the agencies supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, gave her $310 to help purchase a laptop computer, which she plans to use in college.

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