AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Jessica Welch is a successful registered nurse and being recognized as one of the top 25 nurses by the Panhandle Nurses Association. She loves her job, her kids are doing well, but while the story is currently bright it actually begins at a time when her outlook was rather dim.
“I was a teen parent and had three children by the time I was 21," Welch told us. “I wanted to become a nurse, just didn’t have the support and resources. Being a teen parent is very scary, there is a lot of uncertainty. Being a mom anyway is scary, and then doing it as a teenager single and by yourself and not sure what the future looks like - no education. My sister and I were raised by our single mom, we grew up in poverty and things were very hard. If there were a program like this for my mom it would have changed everything. A lot of time as a kid you don’t understand why your mom cries so much and then when you have your own babies and have some of those same struggles you realize: These are tears my mom cried.”
Those tearful moments over time were transformed into moments of joy after Jessica met Eveline Rivers-McCoy and moved into what she calls her “Sunshine Cottages."
Rivers-McCoy explains, “You know homelessnes, hoplessness and poverty do not have to be permanent conditions and that is our attitude. We take those who are in poverty and homelessness. If they have desire and determination to live with us to do what they feel is the right thing for they and their family, we are going to love them through a college degree.”
For candidates that show a true determination and dedication to finish a college degree, the Sunshine Cottages offer rent-free housing and everything they need for that person to succeed.
“We provide all the utilities,” Rivers-McCoy added. “We help them with Christmas. We provide back to school clothes for the moms and the children. We take care of their computer and high speed internet - you go to college you need both of those.”
Remarkably, after 17 years the program has an almost 100 percent success rate.
“We will have our number 20 graduate this December, almost all with four year degrees. We have eight houses, eight cottages for our moms and children to live. Right now we have eight moms and 25 children," said Rivers-McCoy.
“I feel like the Lord led me here to the Sunshine Cottages," Welch shared. “I was able to do those things and earn a degree and support my kids on my own two feet without any financial assistance.”
One of the great things about sunshine is that it lights up our world. These Sunshine Cottages light the path to a promising future for single moms in need.
Now that’s some good news.