A story of a CSBG client assisted by the Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity (PCCEO) serving Peoria County.
Marlene entered the Early Head Start Program in 1998 as a teen mother residing with a foster care family. She had become a mom at age 15 and was the product of the Foster Care/DCFS system from about age 4. Marlene had issues with trust and authority figures when she entered the program which took some time to overcome. She also had some relationship issues as a result of growing up in the DCFS system, which consequently led her to make some poor parenting decisions. She also had two more children by the age of 19. An Early Head Start Family and Community Development Specialist was assigned to be her case manager in 1999. It took several months for the FCD Specialist to gain Marlene’s trust; first she had to begin to trust in herself in order to be a successful individual and attain her dreams. Marlene was emancipated from the DCFS system and PCCEO helped her to find her own apartment. In 2001, Marlene decided that she no longer wanted to depend on welfare for her income, and asked for employment assistance. She applied for and received a support service clerk position with PCCEO Head Start. While Early Head Start provided childcare, she became a good employee, as she was determined to become a good mother and provider for her children. While employed, Marlene enrolled in a Food Sanitation class, passed, and received her certification. As a result, she was hired by Peoria Public Schools District 150 as Cafeteria Supervisor at one of the elementary schools. October 24, 2004 was Marlene’s last day with the PCCEO and she began her new position on November 1.
Marlene’s story is a good example of how one can turn their life around with the help and guidance of community action.