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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Courage and Determination We Can All Learn From


Tori has traveled a long way. On June 29, 2009, she left her abusive husband of thirteen years, took her children, and fled to a friend in Chicago. It took true courage for her to walk away without a safety net and without a clear path for herself and her seven young children. She found the courage because she knew she had to get herself and her children to safety.

I had the honor of meeting and getting to know Tori a few weeks ago, and found myself incredibly moved by her story, her poise, and her determination.

To hear Tori’s story in her own words, and to hear what the staff at The Cara Program (a nonprofit here in Chicago), have to say about her and the need she seeks support for, go to our website at www.benevolent.net and click on the link at the top that says “Tori.”

“My kids are some of the most amazing kids…”

In the 28 months since her leap to safety, Tori has journeyed through shelters, transitional housing, job readiness programs, and now to stability. She’s gotten herself and her children to a place of security. She’s working full time, she has an apartment, and the kids are in school and thriving – playing sports, excelling in academics, and bringing home As and Bs with every report card.

Tori has plans for her children – she expects each one to go to college and encourages them all to excel in everything they pursue. Sometimes, however, she has to say “no.” Whether it’s a field trip she can’t afford, the right equipment for football, or a volleyball tournament team trip, Tori has had to tell her children over and over again that they can’t afford things. There’s no money for extras.

She’s okay with that, but the one thing she is focusing on for the next steps forward is a computer for her family. Tori is determined that her kids will be educated, strong and independent. Right now, Tori’s kids have to go to the library after school or after their sports practices so that they can get online and complete the parts of their homework for which they need a computer. This means that the kids are away from her and outside the house more, that Tori can’t monitor them while they’re online, and that she can’t be there to motivate and help them while they’re doing homework on the computer.

For Tori, the inability to parent her kids in these instances is untenable. She takes pride in her children’s health, happiness, and success. Now, while she’s financially stable for the basics like rent, utilities, food and clothing, Tori is seeking our help in meeting her primary goal – being the best mom she can be to her kids.

We estimate that a computer with the necessary programs, a mouse, virus protection, etc, will be $705. Tori has researched internet access and found that she can get it for under $10 per month, and she can cover that on a regular basis.

Torti’s is an interesting need in that she is focusing on her children’s next steps, goals and plans. She is so clearly striving to achieve and succeed in the face of obstacles and barriers - I feel it will be an honor to help Tori to meet her need.

Here’s what we can do - if you want to help support Tori’s need, please go to the link on our website at www.benevolent.net that says “Donate Now.” There, you can click on a link to PayPal where you can submit a contribution. The PayPal page is truly not pretty, but it works.

As soon as we’ve received the total amount needed for Tori to buy a computer for her family, we’ll send the money along to The Cara Program -- the nonprofit that provides Tori with job training and personal support -- and they will get the funds to Tori for the computer. We’ll update her page on our website so that you know not to send any more contributions for her.

By supporting Tori’s need, you’ll be helping her get the computer for her family, and you’ll also be helping us here at Benevolent as we build our model. With every need that’s filled we’ll use about 3.5% to cover credit card and processing costs and 6.75% to cover our own costs here at Benevolent. We’ve already factored that into the amount we need to raise to meet this need.

Whether or not you decide to help Tori, we’re glad that you know her now, as we do. She’s a strong woman with a story of courage and determination, and I have all the belief in the world that she and her kids will go far and impress us all.

- Megan Kashner, Founder & CEO