Klara moved to the United States in 2008 when she was 14. She came from Haiti and didn’t speak any English. All her life, her mother and Grandmother were strong influences in her life, though neither of them could come with her. When she arrived, she started 8th grade in Brockton, a year behind where she belonged because of the language barrier. She came here as she says, “to fulfill the American dream.”
After high school, she attended the University of Massachusetts Boston where she began studying Communications. Midway through, she became pregnant unexpectedly without a partner to to offer any support emotionally or financially. She was renting a single room in a house with other renters but once Kaiden was born, she was asked to relocate. During that time she slept in her car for a few nights and stayed with friends before she was placed in a shelter.
She immediately went back to work while she tried to complete her education, leaving Kaiden with a Haitian babysitter. This left her in a tough spot if that caregiver got sick or was taking a vacation. It meant whenever the babysitter couldn’t make it, she had to take time off work and school. Plus, she had high expectations about anybody she would leave Kaiden with, including putting him in a day care environment. Around that same timeframe, she transferred to another shelter in Boston so her commute to school would be more manageable. It was a case worker who recommended she check out Horizons for Kaiden when he was 5 months old.
“At Horizons, the early education he was receiving was much more than daycare – he was learning and growing before our eyes.”
Almost immediately, Kaiden thrived going to school in our Jamaica Plain Early Education Center. He made great strides developmentally in his time there. The teachers time and again were right there to support her when he went through new phases. She credits the team at Horizons for helping her be a great mom – she learned a lot from the staff over the last few years, particularly about his development.
“See when one becomes a mother, no one hands us the “How to be a mom” handbook, we are just expected to be great moms and figure it out. The staff at Horizons understands that and supported me as well when I couldn’t figure it out.”
Since then, she has completed her degree – a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with minors in Criminal Justice and Sociology. After many interviews and several job offers, she accepted a position at Horizons because it would give her the opportunity to give back to the place that has meant so much to her and her son.