Single mom counts her blessings

Published 4:00 pm Friday, July 15, 2022

Families United Training Center’s very first “Story of Hope” focuses on a young woman named Alece Jones. From the chair at her desk, she smiled with the grace of patience and in the comfort of knowing her worth.

It wasn’t always like that for Jones.

In 2019, she had no car, no home, no job and no hope. Now 25, Jones has a car, a home, a new job and bushels full of hope.

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“I needed a mentor and some guidance,” Jones, now 25, said. “When Mrs. Falana gave me that guidance, it was like a light bulb going off and I said, ‘Oh, I understand.’”

Jones joked that her parents had given the same guidance over and over, but she, like many young people, just didn’t listen. “They love me, they care about me and I was raised in the church,” Jones explained. “But I didn’t have any goals set. I knew about ‘write the vision and make it plain,’ but I still didn’t do it.

“I feel so empowered now. Coming from where I was to where I am now – it’s just amazing.”

Jones reached out to the Families United Training Center, of which Falana McDaniel is the founder and executive director. “[Jones] was one of the single moms who enrolled in our Single Mom’s Program in 2019,” McDaniel said. “When she came to us, she was looking for a place to stay, in a serious domestic violence situation, did not have a car and did not have a job. We put a plan [of goals] together for Alece and provided her the guidance and support for success.

“Not only did she move into a house and got a car, but we also got her enrolled in Co-Lin and she just graduated in May. The best news is that we just hired her as the program assistant for the Families United Training Center.”

Each year, Families United Training Center, a 501(c)(3) organization, strives to achieve its mission with the help of dedicated community members and valued sponsors, who all join in the mission to help eliminate barriers to success for disadvantaged youth and families by helping them achieve self-sufficiency.

McDaniel wanted to share Jones’ success story to let the organization’s supporters and sponsors know the result of their support in helping to impact lives. “We offer mentoring, tutoring, and educational advancement opportunities for youth and families at no cost to families,” McDaniel has said of the organization that began in 2014.

Jones’s daughter, Jaiya Allee, is now 6 years old. “I want her to know that she can grow and learn and grow up to be anything she wants to be.” Thus far, Jaiya says she wants to become a teacher, which makes her mother proud.

“From where i was to where I am now …” Jones chokes up when thinking about it. “I just had to get focused. Getting an education is so important – it will take you where you need to go. Thanks to this program, I can see how it helps so many find confidence, learn skills, find tutoring and be a helping hand with extra support for those who need it.”

Jones’s advice for any other young person stuck in a life they don’t want? “Reach out,” she said. “Ask for help. Programs like this will help you [devise a] plan to reach your goals.”