I still keep my EBT card with my other sentimental items like movie tickets and family photos. While I was a new mom and struggling to make ends meet while in school and working 20-30 hours a week, government programs helped keep my family afloat. I look back to this period with fondness and recognize the immense blessing it was to be able to birth my son at no financial cost, care for my son’s thyroid condition through Medicaid, and not have to worry about where our next meal was coming from. Government assistance programs allowed me to be a mom, make ends meet, finish school, and create the life I wanted.
My name is Nicole Rodriguez, and I am a member 9to5 Colorado, a grassroots organization that strengthens women’s abilities to win justice for working women. I am a widow with a 12-year-old son, and my family supports HB-1002, Parental Involvement for Academic Activities, which reenacts the 2009 “Parental Involvement in K-12 Education Act.” This bill would allow parents to take a limited amount of job-protected time off from work to attend their children’s academic activities.
I love my job and I take pride in my work. But we all know that family and health sometimes have to come first. When that moment comes for other families, I want to make sure they can take the time to celebrate new life, care for their loved one, or say goodbye — without having to worry about paying the bills.
I know that this will open the door for families all over the United States to be able to bounce back, get on their feet, and make positive changes in their lives. It shows that one mistake does not have to define you for the rest of your life.
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