Maria Minas is a PHD student that is doing a research about the best programs working with families and communities around the world and the work we do with families in Portugal is in the TOP list of the ones she has considered the best. Maria Minas has met Tina in one of the meetings she had with the mothers we work with during her field trips for her Ph.D. Tina was considered by Maria’s team as a very nice and open person that talks with her heart.
When asked about Pressley Ridge, this is what Tina responds:
AT FIRST SIGHT – WELCOMING
I felt that Pressley Ridge was a safe harbor for me. I used to feel useless and really bad about myself and they always gave me the strength and helped me understand my own feelings. I felt like garbage or something like it and believed I was not good for anything not even to take care of my own children, not capable of providing them a better future. So they have told me that life was never easy for me. I have learned that life has many obstacles and we have to learn how to overcome it and fight for our goals. We have to make plans, one at a time, set up priorities and I’ve learned I’ve had to organize my life since it was just like a snow ball. I am still fighting but I would have not done it without them (Pressley Ridge team). They have helped me reach out for help. They did not ask what I have done to get to this point, they believed in me and have just helped me standing up – even more than my own family.
And they always have a smile in their faces. I know they also have their life’s, their problems, but every time I come here, they are always there for me with their arms open and ready to support me. Just about any one of them, because there are more staff that I do not even know the name, but they always ask me “are you ok?” I do not know how to explain better, it is something I just feel. It is like a safe harbor.
Even when I think I cannot try anymore, even when I have doubts about myself, they never give up on me and keep tell me that I have the skills and strength to reach further. I have learned to continue to fight, I feel tired but I know I will not reach anything without fighting.
TO DREAM OR NOT TO DREAM – FOCUS ON GOALS
I was able to complete the 9th grade and I have already my certificate! I continued my studies to complete the 12th grade but my son got sick… I did not complete my studies yet but they keep telling me “you will do it. You can do it. Keep running after your dreams” I responded – “I do not have dreams. Can I call it goals instead?” and their response was “no, everyone have dreams. You have to continue working to reach them!”
I want to continue fighting. They give me the incentive for it!
My self-esteem is much better than it was. I am more open to talk with other people, to trust other people. I have learned to control my anger feelings and to deep breathe. I have learned a lot about it! I have learned to enjoy all the moments with my children. Every 5 minutes, even when I am cooking and they are doing their homework, we’ve learned to play together in between. These moments make me remember a dream I’ve had in the past of being a pre-school teacher.
I used to dream of finishing my studies, buy a car and travel around the world. And then everything stopped.
They help me reaching out for the way instead of telling me what to do and I like it! They do not feel sorry for me. Instead they help me find my goals and fight for what I want and need. I’ve learned to value more everything I accomplish – if I am the one who is working hard for it, it has more value.
I bring the shuffle and the sand and they give me the cement or the water and we mixed it all together.
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Thank you to Katia Almeida for translating!