Ashley Rivera’s upcoming weekend will be special in a way very few of us can imagine.
This Sunday will mark the first Mother’s Day the 34-year-old will get to spend with her 7-month-old son Aiden and 1.5-year-old daughter Riley under the roof of her own apartment.
Ashley has been living on the streets or wherever she could crash since she was a child. She had been living in a vehicle with her mother from the time she was 10. Along the way, Ashley fell into a downward spiral of drugs, alcohol and homelessness before being incarcerated for drug possession.
The fully-furnished apartment she is now living comes from Holliday’s Helping Hands (HHH), which helps formerly incarcerated moms transition back into society with independent and productive lives.
Their "wrap around" system includes social workers, counselors and detailed road maps to help people with life skills, education and jobs.
"Just learning to balance a budget, or getting a real ID are huge steps," says HHH founder and president Katina Holliday.
They have shelters with beds for families and single parents. Their focus, however, remains on getting the families back into society with skills that will assure success and real change.
Ashley has been sober for quite some time and is now going to school. She hopes to become a counselor to "give back some of what was given to me so freely."
She wants to show others that there is hope and a light "inside each of us" that we have to tap into.
Those interested in learning more about Holliday's Helping Hands can click here or call 310-819-8214.