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Tanzania has a busy schedule. In addition to raising her children, she also works two jobs.


Summertime can be a stressful time for parents, like Tanzania, since kids are not in school. Keeping them happy, healthy and engaged can be a challenge.


Tanzania‘s children are able to attend summer camp through a partnership between the Springfield YMCA and the Matthew Project. They can go swimming, play sports and receive guidance from District 186 teachers. They also receive two nutritious meals per day since the Springfield YMCA is a Summer Food Service Program site sponsored by the Foodbank.


“I’m very appreciative because most kids just stay home, not catching up on anything educational or friends or sports,” Tanzania said. “The Y provides a lot that tremendously helps me.”


Making sure her children have access to nutritious meals, and fresh produce, is important for their growing bodies and minds.


“It’s very important even though some kids don’t like their veggies,” she said. “It helps that we have people who support being healthy and making sure kids get the right nutrition.”


Erion, her oldest son, currently helps out as a junior counselor at the Springfield YMCA. He enjoys teaching the kids sports, especially basketball. He recently started helping little kids with swimming lessons. If he continues to work hard, he can become a youth counselor in a few years and start earning his own money.


While Erion enjoys pizza rolls and his younger brother, Vernon, prefers chicken nuggets and burgers, there’s no debate about the family’s favorite vegetable.


“Definitely corn. It’s a big deal in the house. They love it. I try to mix it in for them to eat,” Tanzania said. “I make it fun and they’ll eat it.”


As a parent, sometimes it’s hard to admit that you need help. Still, she continues to work hard and be a role model for her children


“It’s very difficult. I wouldn’t say it’s the easiest thing in the world but it gets me by. It keeps me motivated to strive harder,” she said. “I definitely want to provide them with a good future.”


Tanzania is currently working to obtain her GED. She’s already passed two of the tests and has scheduled the remaining ones.


In the meantime, Tanzania is also learning new life skills that will help her accomplish her goals. She meets with a credit coach weekly to discuss topics like budgeting and how to establish good credit. Since meeting with her coach, she has already set up a bank account. Once she receives her GED certificate, she will continue working with her coach to find a full-time position.

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