Where are they now? Meet Rich.

A decade ago, Rich was a self-employed contractor working 60 hours a week to make ends meet. He rarely got to spend time with his wife, Rachel, and their two young kids. Still, his health was suffering. Their home was facing foreclosure. They felt stuck.

“It wasn’t sustainable,” Rich says. “I wanted to go to school but the cost of childcare made it prohibitive to not work full time.”

They couldn’t live solely off Rachel’s public teacher salary.

Then they discovered the Seattle Milk Fund (now Goodwin Connections) and their entire outlook changed.
Read more.

Denise Nicole

At the beginning of the school year, Denise Nicole spoke to our guests at our annual luncheon. Here is her story…

Good afternoon. It is an honor to be here. My name is Denise Nicole, and my four-year-old son, Kingston, and I just joined the Family Connections Program.

I am here on behalf of all the new and returning student parents and their families to thank you for believing in us and our children.

My journey has been filled with hardships that could have impacted my life in a negative way. There have been hurdles and obstacles that could have stopped me in my tracks. But I have persevered and stayed true to my path because I am worth fighting for!
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Alexandra

This week, we announced Goodwin Connections’ inaugural Sandra Tonseth Scholar. An honor that will be bestowed upon a University of Washington student from the day they enter our Family Connections program through their graduation day. Named in memory of Sandy Tonseth, a past Seattle Milk Fund President and founding member of the Everett W. Nordstrom Circle. Sandy and her friends were Nordstrom employees who wanted to give back in a meaningful way and they found purpose in helping Seattle Milk Fund families. Sandy herself attended the University of Washington and studied art.

This year’s Sandra Tonseth Scholar is Alexandra. Alexandra is in her final year at the University of Washington majoring in Comparative History of Ideas with a minor in Environmental Studies.

She is an artist at heart who has a passion for music and documentary filmmaking. In addition to school, Alexandra also volunteers for 350 Seattle, a grassroots nonprofit working on the climate change crisis.
Read more.

Araceli

How Balancing Self-Care and Sacrifice Enabled One Mom to Achieve Her Dreams

By: Tamara Braunstein

If you’d asked Araceli in high school about what she wanted to do with her life, she might have shrugged. She definitely wouldn’t have named any job requiring a four-year degree — she never thought she’d make it to college. For a while, she wasn’t sure she’d graduate from high school.

Today, she’s a proud graduate of the University of Washington (UW) Tacoma School of Social Work. And she’s an even prouder mother to her five-year-old son, Christian.

It’s Christian whom she credits with igniting her desire to push herself and achieve academic success. And it’s her 10th grade mentor who inspired her path forward.
Read more.

Congrats to our new graduates!

This spring and summer, we will celebrate 27 students graduating with their degrees from colleges in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. This is the largest cohort of graduates that our Family Connections Program has experienced since its inception. We are so proud of our hardworking and dedicated scholars and all they have accomplished. We wish them the best as they begin their careers. Thank you to our supporters for making graduation day a reality for our students.

Edmonds Community College
Svitlana
, Science

Lake Washington Institute of Technology
Vita
, Accounting

North Seattle College
Jennifer, Pre-nursing

Pierce College
Briana, Pre-nursing

Seattle Central College
Fadumo, Respiratory Therapy
Rebecca, Social Human Services

Seattle Pacific University
Monica
, Nursing

Seattle University
Devin
, Electrical Engineering
Angelica, Law
Martha, Nursing
Hodan, Nursing
TyKera, Social Work

Shoreline Community College
Sarah
, Chemistry

University of Washington Bothell
Naira
, Accounting
Weikang, Math

University of Washington Seattle
Corinna,
English

Danya, Education Policy
Hirut, Nursing
Robyn, Business
Joshua, Mechanical Engineering
Myles, Community, Environment, and Planning
Katie, Psychology
Kristen, Business
Sydney, Nursing
Ruby, Social Work

University of Washington Tacoma
Araceli
, Social Welfare

Washington State University (Everett)
Karina, Hospitality
Masooma, Pharmacy

 

Fadumo

Survivor of Somali Civil War establishes love, work, and home in Seattle

Author: Maggie Wilson
Photographer: Renee Banks

Please be aware: This article includes the recounting of experiences during the Somali Civil War that are upsetting. They are also real experiences. Read compassionately. A version, that was edited for length, appeared in our Winter/Spring 2019 Newsletter.

Fadumo Daud heard a bomb coming, but she could not escape it.

She was a child then, with her younger sister beside her. Those who heard the bomb coming either ran or laid themselves down.

“(When bombs near) people go somewhere they think is safe,” Fadumo said.

Today, Fadumo lives in Seattle’s Columbia City, with her loving husband, Ahmed, and her three sons. With help from Seattle Milk Fund, her youngest son attends preschool, and her two older sons attend after-school programs while Fadumo works toward a bachelor’s degree in respiratory care at Seattle Central College.

Her middle son is 8 years old – the same age this year as she was in Somalia during the Civil War in 1991.

Fadumo juices carrots in bright mornings for her boys. Over winter, she took them to the Pacific Science Center.
Read more.

April

A Life-Changing Decision

by: April

I can still remember the exact moment I decided to change my life.

On a crisp fall day in 2013, a few months after I became a single mom, I decided to take a shortcut through the University of Washington campus with my then 3-year-old daughter in the backseat. We marveled at the trees and buildings as we drove. Glancing back in the rearview mirror I told my daughter, “You can go to school here one day you know.” She kept looking out the window, too young to grasp what I was telling her.

As soon as the words left my mouth, I had an epiphany—the best way to ensure that my daughter went to college, was not to tell her, but to show her. Graduating from college was something I had always wanted to accomplish and driving through campus that day I knew what I had to do. That night, at 31-years-old, I enrolled at North Seattle College and I never looked back. I began shaping mine and my daughter’s future from that moment on—the power to raise the bar was in my hands.
Read more.

Yelena

The Power of Perseverance

Yelena was featured in our Summer | Fall Newsletter

If there’s one way to describe Yelena, it’s determined. She taught herself English and homeschooled her kids for a few years, while teaching them Ukrainian simultaneously. Despite the hardships she faced moving to Seattle from Ukraine, she never gave up in her path to providing her three children, Daniel, Darina, and David, with the best possible life.

It was never an option to give up or stop trying, so she kept going, and pushed through the long days and nights of studying, working, and taking care of a full household. While taking a prerequisite course in communication, she began to learn about relationships and how to better them through communication, which was her goal with her husband of 12 years. It wasn’t until she began to learn about domestic violence in this class that she realized that her husband was abusive and she shouldn’t be treated the way she was. Yelena ended her relationship with her husband after being told for so long that she wasn’t good enough, and feeling stuck and unable to do anything.

She was then on her own to take care of her three young children. Having been a stay at home mother until now, Yelena was determined to finish her education and get a degree at Lake Washington Institute of Technology.

“Failing wasn’t an option,” she said. This past winter quarter, she completed her associate’s degree and was recently hired by Infinity Rehab at Bethany at Silverlake, where she has begun her career as a Physical Therapy Assistant. Yelena describes the last four years as life-changing. She explains that she doesn’t know what she would have done without Seattle Milk Fund’s support.
Read more.

Kristine

Graduation Gratitude

“I would like to thank everyone for helping and supporting me with Kiana. Going to school and work full time is a challenge, but with the help from you at Seattle Milk Fund, it was possible. Having Seattle Milk Fund assist with child care has been a huge blessing for my family. Everyone at Seattle Milk Fund has made it possible for me to graduate from my program with an Associate Degree in Nursing. I will be able to provide a better life for my family, as well as pursue my dreams to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. I am pleased to inform you that I have passed my NCLEX-RN and will be starting my job at the end of July as a Registered Nurse! I cannot thank you enough for helping provide child care for my daughter. I appreciate all that everyone at the Seattle Milk Fund has done and would love to be a part of Seattle Milk Fund in the future!”

Forever grateful, Kristine, North Seattle College Graduate and Registered Nurse

Katy

Katy spoke at our 110th Grand Birthday Gala. She and her husband attended the event to thank Seattle Milk Fund supporters in person for providing child care grants while Katy attends the University of Washington.

Read below for her story and heartfelt remarks…

Hello, I’m Katy. I am here tonight to thank you for your generous child care grant. I also want to tell you more about myself to help explain why furthering my education will mean so much to my family’s future.

As a family of 3 who is trying to get ahead…it has been difficult. Our financial situation is less than ideal. My husband works very hard to support us and takes overtime shifts at a job that pays a little over minimum wage. My degree will mean a more stable financial future for me, my husband, and our little boy.
Read more.