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Dear Tom:

My sister became a single mom at the age of 20. For the last nine years, I have watched my sister work harder than ever to be the best mom and example for her daughter.

She was determined to finish her bachelors degree right after her daughter was born and she persevered through the challenges of keeping babysitters, functioning after sleepless nights, balancing homework and baby time and working on the weekends.

From day one she has put her daughter's needs and happiness before her own. She works a full time job and is an active volunteer at church. Singing on the praise team, working as the executive assistant to the pastor and leading lady as well as helping out in so many other areas at church where she is needed.

My sister is also currently working on her masters degree in counseling. She consciously made this decision one year ago, knowing that she would once again have to work through the challenges of scheduling babysitting and school pick up for her daughter, sacrificing precious mother/daughter time, working full time and volunteering heavily at church. I worry about her often because she is always on the go and never seems to rest.

My sister has told me that she wishes that she could afford to take time off from work to be able to go on vacation with her daughter. She worries about the fact that she always has to work to keep the bills paid but it doesn't allow her to do some of the extra special things she'd like to do with her daughter. With her being a single mom, she doesn't have the opportunity to rely on anyone else to help financially so she continues to work to make sure her obligations are handled. I'd love for her and her daughter to be able to go on a vacation. That would be very special for the two of them.

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