No Challenge Too Big for Minnesota Woman Who Ignores Stereotypes to Value Mental Health & Higher Education

Motherhood was supposed to be a challenge too big for Sydney to achieve. Good thing the mother of two from St. Paul, Minnesota, no longer listens to the naysayers. 

“I was told I couldn’t have kids. There was a point in my life where I felt like I didn’t want to live anymore, but then I found out I was pregnant.” 

Now Sydney and her two daughters enjoy spending a lot of time reading, watching movies, going to playgrounds, and emphasizing good mental health practices. 

“I really enjoy doing things with my kids,” said Sydney, who intentionally takes breaks to ensure that she’s spending enough time with her daughters. “As a single parent navigating the ups and downs in life, taking care of my mental health is very much necessary.” 

A college education was also supposed to be an obstacle too high for Sydney, but tell that to her current pursuit of a degree in social work. She’s currently a sophomore on a mission.

“Highly motivated by my dad because he went through 36 foster homes as a child and I want to change the foster care system based on his personal story.” 

In St. Paul, Sydney’s support circle was small until she tapped into her local community and found resources. An employment counselor at the YMCA connected her to different programs, lectures, and trainings available to her.

“Showing up to those different lectures, they can speak to my reliability and could use them as a professional reference in the future,” Sydney said. 

In her community, she has attended empowerment workshops where she can express herself with people going through similar situations. Sydney has participated in parenting classes where her children could socialize with other children while she connects with parents. She shared with us that recently enrolled in a program called College Boost that’s supporting Sydney with maintaining a college savings account for her youngest daughter. 

“Very blessed and thankful for all these resources. I haven’t struggled as much as I’d expected to be struggling due to the community and other resources I have available to me,” Sydney said. 

One additional resource available to her involved UpTogether. She learned about UpTogether through an email sent from a St. Paul-based nonprofit called Prepare and Prosper.

“I happened to see the email and thought it would be a great opportunity to add income to my household,” said Sydney. 

She admitted that after going to the UpTogether website and confirming that it was legitimate, she immediately thought to herself, “Who else do I care about in my life that I could share this information with?”

Because of her community-first instincts, now Sydney’s sister, grandmother, and a couple of other people in her circle know about UpTogether.

“Anytime I’m utilizing any resource I try to share that information with someone else that could use them.”

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