Shan is a single mom with two beautiful boys, Aaron, 7, and Isaac, 9. Her sons will be entering fourth and second grades at Coleman Elementary School in San Rafael in August. Although she had a difficult time as a child, Shan hopes to provide a supportive and nurturing home life for her children. She was adopted and never felt like a part of her adopted family. Shan has been on her own ever since she was 17, and she is not in contact with her adopted family. Unfortunately, the father of her children has not been around for the past five years, leaving her as the children’s sole support. Shan works as an in-home caregiver and is also studying at College of Marin to increase her career options.
Shan is very challenged by the high cost of living in Marin County. “It’s very difficult for my self-esteem,” she says. “I cannot pull my own weight and live self-sufficiently. The services at Ritter Center are very good, and I need them to raise my boys. Everything is just so expensive these days.” Thankfully, Shan and her children are enrolled in Medi-Cal for health insurance so that they don’t have to worry about whether or not they can see a doctor when they get sick.
Like many low-income Marin families, Shan comes to Ritter Center for fresh and nutritious groceries from our food pantry. “I even pick up groceries at the pantry for some of my home-care patients who qualify,” she says. Shan also sees a behavioral health counselor to talk through some of her problems and cope with stress. In the past, she has received financial assistance from Ritter Center to repair her car and help pay rent. She always enrolls in Ritter’s Family-to-Family Holiday Sharing Program so that her sons can receive toys during the holidays.
Shan is very passionate about Ritter’s Back to School program. “How you appear on the outside affects how you feel on the inside, so having new school supplies is wonderful,” she says. “Schools these days require parents to provide so much more than they used to.” Shan is particularly grateful for the $50 Old Navy gift card she received this year. “My boys are growing so fast it seems like they constantly need new clothes. Also, that is $50 I can now spend on tutoring assistance for my son who has been diagnosed with ADHD.”
Shan wants to make sure that all of the donors who support Ritter Center know how much their support helps. “Thank you so much,” she says. “It really does make a huge difference in the way my kids feel about themselves and even how I feel about myself.”