Karinda Greo, '06 GraduateMonther of the Month & The 2017 Gala Speaker
I grew up in a fairly conservative family. As a young teenager I remember feeling very sheltered, like I was missing out on something. And that’s when I began experimenting with drugs and made a whole new group of friends, including my children’s father. The more I got involved with the drugs and the new friends, the more judgment I felt from family and church and the closer and closer I became with the new friends. Somehow, I did manage to graduate high school, but other than that my life was a mess. I worked random temp jobs and slept on friends’ couches. I was getting into trouble with the law, I had no place to live. I had pretty much hit rock bottom.
At 19 years old I found out I was pregnant with my daughter and that’s when everything changed for me. I left the crazy lifestyle behind because I knew I wanted better for her. After she was born we were living with my children’s father. And shortly after I found out I was pregnant again with my son. I really tried to make things work with their father. He always knew the right things to say but unfortunately, he chose not to change his lifestyle and, as far as I know, is still on drugs. We don’t have regular contact with him.
Right after my daughter was born I got a job with a local manufacturing company doing their bookkeeping. I enjoyed the work, but every week my entire paycheck was consumed by bills – with rent, childcare, food, and diaper costs. Since my children’s father was not paying child support, the financial burden fell solely on me. A relative suggested that I look into Mom’s House. I got accepted there and at Millersville and started a new chapter in my life.
Mom’s House did many, many things for my children and me. The most obvious was the free childcare, which was amazing. But they also have a clothing bank and a food bank. They helped me apply for and obtain scholarships. On holidays, they always sent gifts home with us when I couldn’t afford to buy any. The teachers were wonderful. Since I was required to put in cleaning hours and attend weekly meetings, I was at Mom’s House a lot. The time I spent there gave me the opportunity to really get to know the caregivers and staff on a personal level, and I’m extremely grateful for the stability they provided for me and for my kids in a time when life didn’t always feel stable. Whenever I had a bad day there was always someone there to talk to. And there were some bad days. It was not easy to work and go to school and raise two kids all by myself. What the moms in this program are doing right now is incredibly difficult. But everything Mom’s House does helps to ease the burden both financially and emotionally. And that is what’s unique about this program. It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up.
Today I am a graduate of the Mom’s House program, a graduate of Millersville University, and the proud mother of two amazing teenagers. I have my bachelor’s degree in Math, with a concentration in Actuarial Science and a minor in Accounting. If you think that sounds technical or nerdy, you are correct. I have been working more than nine years for Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, where I have worked my way up to supervising the Data Analytics department, and I love it. I work with a group of very smart, talented and caring individuals for a company that encourages me to be active in my community and support organizations like Mom’s House.
I am very proud to now be a contributor and supporter of Mom’s House. It’s a great feeling to be able to give back to an organization that has done so much for me and my family. I want to thank Mom’s House and I want to thank everyone who supports Mom’s House for making that possible. Thank you.