Anna’s Story

Serving in the United States Army for six years in military intelligence may have helped Anna a single mother of two young children, keep calm when disappointment and illness upended her life.

Anna who previously lived in Western Mass. says, “It may sound crazy, but I moved to Chatham because I found an affordable year-round apartment and I found a job as a medical assistant in a doctor’s office. They were really accommodating to a single mother. They even had a room for kids so that if school is out or kids are sick, they can be with their parent but in a special separate area.” This meant not missing much needed workdays and providing her son, who is autistic, with more routine and less change.

She had one semester left, of four, towards her AA in nursing-with a total 3.9 GPA when her mother was in a serious car accident in Pennsylvania and she had to leave everything— apartment, job, school— to take care of her. Her mother was on life support for eight months before she died. Anna then picked her life and family up and started over again on the Cape.

Her son struggled when the initial COVID-19 stay at home order came. All socialization, as well as the invaluable therapeutic program, ended. For the first time he experienced mania and hallucinations. The abrupt cutoff of school attendance caused a mental shift in his autism. Anna got let go from her job as the office was barely seeing patients, so she was able to concentrate on home schooling. He has since gotten back on track but still doesn’t really understand why they remain isolated.

Anna had gotten a two-year Marvelous Marvin Hagler scholarship to attend Massasoit Community College and said, “I saved the GI Bill to use for graduate school.” She has an EMT license but that is difficult to find an EMT position that works with parenting two young children. She is looking into summer camps for both children, a therapeutic summer camp for her son; but it is unclear when, or if, they will open this summer. She is worried about a second wave of the virus as things open.

Anna contacted Lower Cape Outreach Council to help with an old electric bill. When she abruptly left to care for her mother, she had neglected to take the electric bill out of her name and new tenants had lived in the premises on her account for six months. The electric company informed her it was her responsibility, since she had left it in her name, and that they would not turn electricity on in her new apartment until it was partially paid. LCOC helped her pay enough to get electricity and aided her with a portion of her first, last and security for the new apartment.

She has every intention of going back to complete her final semester for her nursing assistant associates’ degree and then to complete a degree for research in genetics and organismic biology. At 26, there is no doubt that this capable young woman will complete her dream of becoming a researcher.

“It was so stressful thinking about the looming electric bill and not being able to get back to work to pay it down. LCOC helped to ease the pressure which allowed me to get through this time of COVID and concentrate on what my children needed. Relieving my anxiety helped my son and daughter settle down. It was thanks to Lower Cape Outreach Council that I can get back to my life.”

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