Keeping on the Path
Raquel Williams, a single mother of four, moved from Tranquility, California, to Fresno straight out of high school. She was attending Fresno City College and Valley College, but dropped out as she waited to deliver her third child.
Raquel had previously participated in the Fresno Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, which helps low-income families afford quality housing in the private market. After her divorce, she heard about a newly-developed Fresno Housing Authority complex – Parc Grove Commons – and submitted an application. She heard there were many, many applicants and was not optimistic: “I just thought, ‘It’s in God’s hands – all I can do is put in the application and see what happens.’”
Less than two months later, Parc Grove became Raquel’s first home as a single parent. The three bedroom apartment provides a stable base from which her children – Carl Jr., Jennika, Kharron, and Ianarri – can pursue their own dreams… of college and good careers. “We love the apartment,” she says, “It means a lot to us. The kids like it; they’re close to school.”
Raquel visits the library nearby, and reads books with her youngest, Ianarri; she drops the other children off at the Community Computer Lab, where they work on school projects. Carl Jr. attends Design Science High School where he’s turned his grades around and is now eagerly researching colleges. Jennika is soon to follow. Raquel works hard to keep them focused.
Her recipe for moving forward? “Stay healthy, stay strong, and keep your family close.” To other families facing hard times, Raquel advises: “Know what you want for your kids as well as yourself, and stay on that path.”