Nurse and Mother of Three Uses UpTogether Cash to Pay Bills and Mentor Teens in her Chicago Community

Imagine being someone who served in the armed forces, works as a nurse, a dance ministry instructor, a mentor, and a small business owner in Chicago, Illinois. As impressive as Christina’s work life appears, those aren’t even her best responsibilities —she’s also a single mother of three.

Raising children after a divorce, in Chicago, is “rewarding, yet complicated at the same time.” Originally from North Carolina, Christina has been part of the Chicago community since she was 17 years old and feels Chicago is truly her home.

“I chose what was best for me, my peace, and my sanity,” she said.

Her fond taste for Chicago starts with food. Christina admits that she likes to cook, but whenever she doesn’t want to cook, she doesn’t have to because options are everywhere.

“Something is always open and there’s a wide variety of foods. Lots of authentic meals,” she said.

Over the years, she’s seen a lot of value in the city beyond her tastebuds. In 2020, she started a small business in her community called Affirmations in Motion Aim Higher—a mentorship program to coach girls along their journey from preteen to womanhood. She solidified the business in January of 2022, and recently taught a course titled “Faith it for Real: How to Make it Through” to her mentees as a way to address dealing with emotional trauma.

“People are living in survival mode but not taking the time they need to process,” Christina added. “My sweet spot is mental health. (Creating) Transformations from the inside out.”

Another of her sweet spots is the Northwest Center where her neighbor works. Christina recalled how her neighbor encouraged her to attend several events, programs, and opportunities going on at the Northwest Center. The invite plugged her into her community and more.

“I like programs that are about kids and about community,” Christina said. “We all need each other at the end of the day.” 

It was at the Northwest Center that she learned about a Northwest Center Family Fund, co-championed with UpTogether. She enrolled and soon received investments that she could spend however she chose.

 “I was very shocked, and grateful,” she said. Christina used the funds to pay bills and treat her children to an outside dinner.

Currently, Christina strives to continue growing her business in the community. She envisions a day when her mentorship program will be implemented in Chicago area schools. She also hopes to purchase a building where young women can come after school to stay engaged and make an impact on their community.

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