The internet is like a highway. Sometimes it runs through some sketchy neighborhoods and you end up with people knocking on your car window asking for money. Before creating this fundraiser, I stopped and asked myself if I am another one of those people. It’s hard to ask yourself that question and be truly objective. But, here I am, sucking up my pride and moving forward, standing on the metaphorical intersection with my figurative cardboard sign. I need money. Now, when I see people standing on the side of the road, I am skeptical about giving them money. You hear about supposed “homeless” people making thousands of dollars by begging. But, then you also hear those stories of people whose lives were changed by a simple donation that got them on their feet. The problem is that in real life you don’t have time to get that person’s life history. You can’t determine how your donation will impact that persons life. Would it just be another dollar in their pocket or would it be something that brings tears to their eyes? Fortunately, I have the ability to give you my history. I can tell you why I need your money and what your money will do for my future. I was raised in a Christian home that taught me the value of helping others and contributing to your community. From the time I could think about having a job or career, I knew that I wanted it to be meaningful. I never thought about what would make me the most money. I was also briefly involved with CPS when I was a child. It was not substantiated. (I have wonderful, amazing parents.) But, it’s terrifying living away from your family and having a faceless entity tell you who you can be with. I decided that I wanted to change that for other children. I wanted to give other children what I couldn’t have in that situation. I wanted to work for CPS and bring a perspective of someone who knows what it feels like. With support of my family, I was able to go to college and receive my undergraduate degree in Sociology. I then went on to complete my Masters degree. I spent ten years work my way through government and community based jobs that led me to become a case manager for CPS. I am doing what I’ve spent my entire life working to achieve. I am doing meaningful and impactful work. And, I am seeing my actions impact and help families each day. But, all that work and education has created debt. My student loans are coming due and I am realizing the full impact of choosing a job for meaning rather than money. It is a great point of stress in my life to worry about my student loans crushing my finances. My job is stressful, and I can manage it because I can come home and relax. But, now I am coming home to more stress. Crowd funding wasn’t around when I started college, so I’m asking for help retro-actively. When I look at my finances, I see that $10,000 could change my monthly budget dramatically. Being able to pay off smaller loans equivalent to $10,000 could provide me with an extra $300 in my monthly budget that would in turn be used to pay the larger debts. I’m not asking to have all my loans paid. It was my education and I do have ownership in that. But, I’m asking for help. I’m asking for you to help me have a fighting chance of getting my budget under control in a reasonable amount of time. You are paying into my life, my work, and my education. This is what will change my life, be my miracle, and bring tears to my eyes if there are people gracious enough to donate to my life.