Monique is a parent leader from Parent Voices San Diego, and a single parent raising her amazing son Makai. In 2019, she’s been in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Sacramento fighting for parents in poverty. When we listen to the powerful voices of parents, we know without a doubt that all our kids can thrive. In May, Monique shared her story in front of a crowd of about 200 people at Castle Park High School in Chula Vista. Watch Monique’s speech here.
Hello, my name is Monique Rosas and I am a parent advocate for Parent Voices, an organization advocating for working families to have affordable child care.
We speak for the voiceless!
I am a 26-year-old San Diego native and single mother to a 4-year-old son named Makai. [Note: Makai is now 5!] Since 1992, my family and I have battled with homelessness. From birth until I was 8-years-old we lived in hotels, shelters, and other people’s homes — experiencing the trauma of being unstable and insecure. [M]y parents suffered from depression due to living in poverty, this led them to substance abuse, but they still did the best they could to support our family.
Growing up as a child into an adult I inherited my parents’ bad habits. Becoming a single parent affected by mental health and I started to abuse substances to relieve the pain of trying to provide for my son by myself. Tired of the intergenerational cycle of poverty, I made a decision to change it and applied for CalWORKs. My activity last year was a women’s recovery program where I became one year sober on January 14th, 2019. Then I graduated from a culinary apprenticeship program through CalWORKs.
I was excited to finally become successful. My next step was to move out. My case manager referred me to transitional housing, which was actually a tent. Now my worst nightmare of my son experiencing deep childhood poverty became true. Since I receive $577 dollars a month for Makai and I, we cannot afford housing. I pay all my bills by the 15th of the month and end up with less than $100 to decide if I pay for gas or toilet paper. I still don’t have enough to save and move out. Even with all my success, I still feel like I’m drowning and gasping for air. There’s no room for growth.
So I believe in this campaign to end childhood deep poverty because it’s going to be the beginning to breaking the cycle – so we may stop drowning to be able to breathe again. Thank you.
==> Listen to more from Monique here.
==> Check out our favorite video of Makai here.
California has 450,000 children living in deep poverty. We’re also the only state with a plan to END it. Californians across the state know that all our children can thrive. Already, almost $5 billion has been put toward the End Child Poverty Plan in the 2019-2020 state budget. Investments to end child poverty will pay for themselves over time as parents and children become healthier in body, mind, and spirit, and are able to break free from poverty.
There’s more work to do. We have the research, the plan, and the momentum to end child poverty. Now we need the political and moral courage to see it through.
Join the movement. Add your email at endchildpovertyca.org.