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Holly Smith: Taking steps to give her daughter a better life
There are few things a mother cares about more than her child, and StreetWise Vendor Holly Smith exemplifies this every day of her life. While battling through custody hearings and a mental illness, Holly tries to create a positive living environment for her 2-year-old daughter, Winter. “Every single day getting up is hard,” Holly said. “I didn’t think this would happen, I didn’t think we’d be in a situation like this. That’s the hardest thing, she’s not around me and I’m not around her.”
Holly’s devotion to her daughter is clear but circumstances have prevented the two from being together. While living in a shelter, Winter fell and scraped her cheek and the scrape soon swelled and looked much worse, according to Holly. Winter was then taken from Holly.
“My mom has temporary custody of her for right now. I get to see her often but I can’t take her with me. I’m not used to being away from my little one.”
After months of court dates, Holly is still fighting for custody of Winter. The battles are not over, though, as Holly continues to work toward a solution to her bipolar disorder.
“When I turned 16, they finally diagnosed me as bipolar and they started me off on lithium. As I started taking the medicine and as I got older, I started having seizure after seizure.” Her seizures have continued, despite trying many different medicines. Holly is relying on more than just her doctor to help her through this difficult situation. “Through God’s eyesight, hopefully God can work it out.”
Faith plays a crucial role in Holly’s life. Her trust in God helps her to maintain a positive attitude and to stay motivated. She hopes that her hard work will leave an impression on Winter.
“I’ll be happy when I’ve made some money. I need to bring something to the table for my child,” she said. The first step to providing Winter with a good life, Holly says, is finding a better place to live. Currently on the South Side, Holly is trying to get to a safer residence before Winter comes to live with her.
The crime and violence that permeate Holly’s South Side neighborhood have left her critical of the area. “They’re out there hanging out, selling dope. I had to ask some of them why they all continually do this.” “ I don’t feel comfortable living out there, to tell you the truth. That’s why I want to work on getting somewhere for me and my daughter to stay. She doesn’t need to be around that.”
Holly is hoping that working with StreetWise will help in her goal to make a good life for her daughter.
“I don’t know where I would be without it. You go out there and you do what you’re supposed to do. You don’t go out and get in trouble; you don’t have to rob nobody. This place will help you; they have a lot of services. You can make it off this.”
Written by Kim Cummins & Brittany Langmeyer
StreetWise Editorial Intern & StreetWise Staff