Life gets better

I’m Denisse, a 31-year-old single mother of four daughters. My life has been a constant battle to stay afloat and provide for my girls. I want to share my story in hopes that it can inspire other women and demonstrate the value of community health workers like Maria.

Life can and does get better. I am not the same person I was before I met Maria with WellShare. When I was willing to accept and receive help, I was able to start to build a life for myself that I never imagined possible.

Ever since I was little, I had the mentality that I needed a man.

I married my first husband as a teenager and shortly after had two children. We were just kids when we met, and the marriage did not last. My second marriage was marked by years of domestic abuse.

After my second divorce, I got into a new relationship that got serious fast and ended even faster. He pressured me to leave my job and relocate with him. Eventually, I became pregnant, and he left before my second trimester. 

When my youngest was just two months old, I felt alone and isolated. I hit rock bottom and needed a lot of help. That is when I met Maria at her well-child visit at the Mankato Clinic.

Maria is a community health worker with WellShare, who just happened to be working on Project Wellbeing, a partnership between WellShare and the Mankato Clinic, at the time I needed someone like her the most. Maria was a blessing from God

A few months later, my ex-husband filed for custody of my older children, citing their mental health struggles and my inability to relocate. With no means to hire legal representation and facing prejudice due to my criminal record, my kids were taken from me. I was told by lawyer after lawyer that my case was too “messy”.

I reached out to Maria as a lifeline. She offered to help me find housing, employment, and legal services. 

Last October, when my heating was shut off, Maria advocated for me, ensuring my service was restored so I wouldn’t freeze throughout the winter. 

In March, Maria encouraged me to join her class, Living Life to the Full (LLTF), offered through WellShare. LLTF is a free program that is designed to help people deal with everyday life challenges and learn skills to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. 

LLTF gave me a new outlook, sense of hope and increased my self-esteem. I now dream for my future. I want my girls to look up to me. I learned I don’t need a man and I can take charge of my own life. 

WellShare is a big part of my success now and Maria is like a second mom to me. With the help of Maria, I was able to pay off half of my debt, find a new job, sell my house, and I close on a new home tomorrow!

Attending LLTF classes reminds me that my past doesn’t define me. I want to empower younger women one day. Looking at Maria, my goal is to be a leader and motivate women to get through the hardest things in life and come out stronger. 

Today, my future is looking bright. 

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