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From breadline to teaching professional

A single mother with literacy difficulties has gone from struggling to keep her family’s head above water to starting a new life as a teaching professional.

Anna came to The Salvation Army two years ago for budgeting advice following the separation from her partner. She had inherited debt from the relationship and was finding it difficult balancing the household books.

Anna had already been running a tight household budget. The Salvation Army helped Anna draw up a new budget that left her with $20 disposable income. The Salvation Army then helped fill the gap with regular food parcels.

But Anna says that The Salvation Army’s life-changing contribution was its encouragement and emotional support.

At 15, her teacher told her there was no point staying at school and advised her to leave and take a job at the local supermarket, which she did. But she still held onto her life-long dream of becoming an early childhood teacher.

The Salvation Army encouraged Anna to undertake adult literacy classes.

Since completing the literacy course and computer training last year, she is now working her way through a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.

‘The Sallies gave me lots of self-confidence, a shoulder to cry on and let me talk through my problems without judging me,’ Anna says.

‘A few nice comments and some cheering—c’mon you can do it—can make a world of difference to how you see your future.’

She no longer receives food parcels and successfully juggles full-time study and raising two daughters with work as a part-time teachers’ aid.

Major Karen Hayward, who worked with Anna, says, ‘Anna survived incredible circumstances incredibly well but she came to us with little self-esteem—she had no idea she was such a bright cookie. Now she’s gained a level of self-confidence, her options are open.’

Anna says: ‘I didn’t know anything about The Salvation Army before I came here and I felt a bit ashamed. But if it wasn’t for the food parcels helping me out and the support and the new ideas I got here, I would probably would still be sitting around thinking about what I would like to do.’