Karen Amovin, 18 months old, has been attending the Center for New Communities Family Learning Center at San Antonio College (SAC) since she was six weeks old. She has an older sister, who is six, whom she has never met.
Akoko Amovin, Karen’s mother, came to the United States from Togo (officially the Togolese Republic) in 2010 to seek better opportunities. She left behind her husband and her older daughter, who was a year old at the time. Once she moved here, she lived with an aunt for a year, and then she lived with a friend, who she also took ESL classes with. By her third year, she had enough money to live on her own. Then, in 2013, Akoko took the money she had saved and decided to go back to Togo and visit her family. Everyone was happy to see her again, especially her daughter.
When she returned to the US, she found she was pregnant again. She was working as a housekeeper and wanted to work until she was close to the end of her pregnancy, but she wasn’t able to, and she fell on hard times. After asking friends, family and several community resources for help, she ended up at Guadalupe Home, where she was able to get a room. They also helped her get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, WIC, and apply for housing. She stayed at Guadalupe Home from her seventh month of pregnancy until mid-September of this year.
Akoko hadn’t been sure she’d be able to take care of her baby comfortably with the career she had, so she had decided to focus on her education. She had enrolled at San Antonio College, hoping to study nursing. Student Resources at San Antonio College urged her to apply for the waiting list at the on-campus C4NC Family Learning Center, and she was put on the list when she was eight months pregnant. Karen, Akoko’s newborn daughter, was able to start class when she was six weeks old!
In September Akoko got a letter saying she had received housing. She had been waiting and praying, and God helped her. Her interview had been with a very helpful woman who listened to her situation and learned about her child, and told her she would try hard to help her. She got her house two weeks later. It isn’t large, but they were able to move out of Guadalupe Home, and now Karen has a room of her own and space to play. Akoko is able to pay all her bills with the Work-Study she does at San Antonio College.
Akoko is grateful for all the people and organizations who have helped her throughout the years. She is grateful to C4NC and the Family Learning Center at SAC, because Karen likes being at the center and she learns a lot there, while Akoko knows she is safe and happy. Karen is currently learning to speak French, Akoko’s first language, along with English.
Akoko is currently doing well in her classes and she is almost done with her pre-requisites, so she is hoping to get into the Nursing program at SAC next year. She is also going to work on her paperwork for her citizenship, since she has been in the US for almost five years; she hopes to petition to bring her husband and other daughter here to San Antonio.
Finally, Akoko is also a very talented writer, and while at Guadalupe Home she had five of her poems published in their book of poetry; below is “Believe,” a poem she and we here at C4NC would love to share with you:
Believe, my sweetheart.
Why are you crying or thoughtful?
I always told you to believe in Almighty,
That everything will be alright.
If you are here, it is for a reason.
Believe that one day you will be on your own feet.
Only belief will let your dream become true one day.
God did not create us to suffer on this earth,
but to help us be what He wants
us to be.
Therefore, my heart, sweet baby,
do not cry. You shall overcome your