This may be a bit unconventional for a campaign website, but I am going to share a brief story that will hopefully communicate what I believe. Like many others, while growing up, our family fell on tough times. Though my grandmother worked two jobs, and I worked part-time to help, one particular month, we could not make ends meet.

My grandmother went to apply for social services, but when they told her that the amount she’d receive was equal to her working a few more hours a week, she declined the support. She decided that we would buckle down at home. She did not like being dependent; still doesn’t. I suppose she felt like there were people who needed the benefits more than us. From what I remember, though, that is not to say we would not have been justified in taking temporary help; we really needed it.

Moving forward, my grandmother insisted we take better care of what we did have. She became tougher on me with keeping the inside and outside of the house presentable. That was standard for our block. Although none of us had much, all of the parents and grandparents on the block took care of it. We soon had one of the cleanest, most peaceful blocks in the neighborhood. Through their pride, responsibility, and dignity, my grandmother and the other parents that lived on our block showed me that communities thrive when the people who live there take ownership in them, no matter the economic circumstance. This is not only what I believe; this is what I know to be true.