Immigrants And Refugees
Neediest Cases

Parenting Alone, and Bearing ‘the Weight of Everything’

Ny’Lasia Gilmore Martin near her home in the Bronx with her children (clockwise from bottom left) Nylasia, Kadir, Jamir and Nyir. She said that scheduling enough care for her children, her own work shifts and the occasional moment to herself remained a complex puzzle. Credit: Christopher Gregory-Rivera for The New York Times

In collaboration with the New York Times’ Neediest Cases Fund, we present this story of a family making ends meet in the Bronx.

This article is part of a series recounting the stories of people who received help from nonprofit organizations supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.

For Ny’Lasia Gilmore Martin, scheduling enough care for her children, her own work shifts and the occasional moment to herself remained a complex puzzle.

Thursdays are family game night in her home in the Bronx, near Fordham University, where she and her four children compete to grab the top spot in Uno or Mario Kart over bowls of popcorn. Afterward, Ms. Gilmore Martin often takes the bus to a Target 20 minutes away, where she works a few nights a week stocking shelves from 9 p.m. until 6:30 a.m. On those nights, “We can’t play Monopoly,” she says, “because that game does not ever end.”

No matter the game, the time spent bonding is important to Ms. Gilmore Martin, 41, who said she split with the father of her sons in 2017. She said that she lost her mother and father earlier in life, and that it can be overwhelming to be a parent and mourn the loss of your own at the same time.

“You have the weight of everything on your shoulders,” she said.

She has been able to distribute some of that weight with help from her siblings and from Bigs & Littles NYC Mentoring. Her sons Jamir, 17, Kadir, 12 and Nyir, 10, have all worked with mentors through the program, which is an affiliate of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, a beneficiary of The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.

In October, Ms. Gilmore Martin bought new beds for her three youngest children using $1,848.73 from The Fund. She chose a bunk bed with space-saving storage drawers for the room that houses her two younger sons (along with their many anime books and Pokémon cards). Ms. Gilmore Martin replaced the crib of her 2-year-old daughter, Nylasia, with a twin bed that will provide room for the child as she grows.

“My story is hard,” Ms. Gilmore Martin reflected. But she is grateful for her support system and her children, whom she said she considers her good luck charm. “That’s my four-leaf clover right there,” she said.

Read about other stories in this article on the New York Times’ website.