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Organized by: Stephen Orihuela

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THE STORY:

I have never done anything like this before. Frankly, I am a little embarrassed by having to. I'm a proud soul, and I try to do things on my own as much as possible. This endeavor I am currently on though, this is difficult for me to tackle on my own and that's why I have turned here.

Here's my story: I am a single father. For the past 3 years of my life I have been raising my two sons on my own while working a full time job and taking care of all my other parental and personal reponsibilities.

Last year, my daughter who is 11 reentered my life after being "off the grid" with her mother for 9 years. I am now taking on the responsibility of raising her on my own while trying to connect with her, make up for lost time and get her into a stable emotional state and onto solid footing for the world ahead.

In order to facilitate a healthy household for all of us, I need to move to a bigger location. Currently, my sons and I live in a 550 sq ft. studio. We are very, very cramped, but we make it our home. This situation does not work with a pre teen girl in the house. My issue with housing is that everything within my budget requires a vehicle. My boys and I have been relying on the public transit system for years now. After many missed trains, exposure to crazy people and airborne diseases it is time to get a vehicle. Public transit also does not accommodate the schooling and work commutes which would be necessary for us to thrive.

I have made some mistakes in my past, in regard to my credit history. And now that I am trying to finance a vehicle it is not happening. I need help. I am just trying to make a better life for my kids. I don't need a Cadillac or a Tesla, I just need a reliable, fuel efficient vehicle that will fit us comfortably and maybe get us out of town and to the ocean once in a while, without breaking down.

I have applied for multiple car loans only to be denied or for the lender to require large down payments. Down payments that I can't afford to pay and still keep the lights on and food in our stomachs. I have asked family and my sister volunteered to help...a week later she totaled her only car. Like I said, I can't catch a break.

About me: I was once what you would consider a knucklehead. I ran with the wrong crowd. Today I am a secretary working a 9-5 in an office cubicle just trying to raise my kids as best I can. I don't drink. I don't do drugs. I work and come home. I make enough to get us by, my job is stable and I work hard. I just can't catch a break.

About my kids: my daughter is 11, a very bright girl...snarky, sarcastic. She has been in GATE many times throughout her school years, unfortunately some of the things she has had to endure during her time away has made her into an emotional hermit. To see her laugh and have fun, to be a kid is all I want. My oldest son, who is 9. Such an inquisitive child, he loves watching shows about the solar system and every time we step outside he is constantly pointing out the stars to me and telling me about the planets. My youngest son, who is 7. This kid is my "giver". His true passion is sharing. He will make crafts and share them with anyone whom he takes an interest in. You can always find him coloring or decorating things. He has some artistic passions.

I come here with hat in hand. Nowhere else to turn and ask for some assistance with making a better environment for my kids. To see them happy, interacting as kids do...that's the best feeling in the world. I want to continue to see that.

Thank you.

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Organized by

Stephen Orihuela

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