This foundation is a legacy to Irene and Ted Bartko who raised their children and grandchildren to know that the purpose of life is not to just be, but to give back, that our lives should not be judged by what we get out of life but how our living makes a difference.
Given that core value and a desire to use the funds entrusted to us in manner that would have the greatest impact, we choose to assist single women of color, with children, in their efforts to achieve self-sufficiency. Research indicates that these individuals continually face significant obstacles in obtaining meaningful education, employment, safe and adequate housing, and reliable transportation. Overcoming these obstacles creates opportunities not only for the mother but also for her children as well as the community.
However, as members of the board, our support is driven more by our hearts than by our heads. We hear the stories of women who are struggling to give their children a good start in life. We feel the pride when a young mother, struggling to go to college while holding down a part time job and caring for two children, says, “I want to do this so my children can be proud of me and have a positive role model.” We feel the struggle when a mother sacrifices everything to get her family into their first house. We appreciate the effort of taking multiple buses to get to work and child care, while holding an infant and carrying all the paraphernalia that children need to get through the day. We understand how it hurts when someone says, “Sorry, but we can’t help you with that”.
In our hearts, we understand the frustration, guilt and pain of not being able to give children everything they need. But we also know the joy, pride and satisfaction that comes from working hard and supporting one another. Moreover, we rejoice and celebrate with the women we serve as they achieve hard-sought goals and fulfill long held dreams…dreams that carry them and their children into a future of hope, prosperity, gratitude and continued success.
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