‘I have hope now’

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‘I have hope now’

When Tracy Kilgo heard about our Getting Ahead program while volunteering with our Great Turkey Countdown Thanksgiving deliveries, she was hesitant to admit that she desperately needed the help Common Heart could provide. 

“I was afraid to ask people for help. But every month I would find I barely had enough to pay my bills,” the teaching assistant said. “I got really good at knowing how to ask for extensions and how long I could wait to pay before a utility shut off. It was depressing. I thought, ‘Life’s gotta be better than this.’”

The stress over her financial situation, she said, was compounded by the fact that most people would assume she was rich – she’s an NFL mom. Her son, Darius, was a defensive tackle in the National Football League and has two Super Bowl rings. He most recently played for the Arizonia Cardinals and has faced his own struggles too, she said. 

“Everybody thinks when you’re that mom you’re not going to go through anything, and that’s not the case,” she said. “I’ve struggled through anxiety, depression, illnesses, and injuries along with my son. I went through what he went through. People don’t know your story. You can put on a smile and many days I had to put on a smile to make people believe ‘Oh yeah, you’re an NFL mom you’ve got it going on.’ That was not the case.”

After attending her first Getting Ahead session, Tracy said she “felt relaxed and realized I’m not the only person who’s going through things. People don’t know the struggles you go through and we all need that support.” 

One of her biggest takeaways, she said, is realizing that being in poverty isn’t just about a lack of money. There are 11 Getting Ahead resources that can be used to help improve lives: financial, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, support systems, knowledge of hidden rules, language, integrity and trust, motivation and persistence and relationships and role models. 

Now, Tracy has secured a part-time job to help bolster her income and has a new outlook on life along with a stronger support system. 

“Getting Ahead was life-changing for me,” she said. “I just feel so much better and am doing so much better. It put a fire under me to make changes and things are looking up now. I have hope now.” 

Sandy Dyson-Reid, Empowerment Center Director, said Tracy was a valued member of this Getting Ahead session and always thought of her fellow GA investigators.

“Tracy always found ways to uplift and encourage others as she navigated her own journey,” she said. 

Tracy wrote about her experiences in a poem which she read at her Getting Ahead graduation (see below). 

If you think you would benefit from Getting Ahead, apply online at Getting Ahead – Common Heart. Participants receive a $35 Wal-Mart gift card plus free dinner and free childcare (if needed) for every session they attend. Graduates have the opportunity to receive free life coaching and earn $500 deposited into a bank account through our Emergency Savings Incentive Plan (ESIP). Call 704-218-9060 ext. 1016 with any questions. 

If you would like to help support the GA program with financial or meal donations, call 704-218-9060 ext. 1016. Speakers are also needed to share expertise during monthly resource meetings. 

Tracy’s Poem

I once traveled down a road called despair

Often wondering what I needed to repair

I’ve seen some good days and many bad days

With hopes of seeing blue clouds and the sunny rays

I never knew that it would end up this way

So, I prayed, cried and listened to what my heart would say

Through the pain, hurt, disappointment and shame

Sometimes that negative voice would say ‘You’re the blame’

As I went through different mountains and every storm

God’s hand covered me with a presence oh so warm

By His grace and mercy, I was kept when I began looking to the hills 

From whence my help cometh

God know the plans he has for me

And they were tailor-designed for many to see

As I continue to walk by faith each day and night

I’m coming out of darkness into His marvelous light

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