Service Array:
Individual Skill Development and Enhancement

I was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, into a large family with five half-siblings and one full sibling, along with 19 nieces and nephews. Despite the diverse family dynamics, the bond with each sibling was never different. My parents divorced when I was young, leading to frequent moves between homes and different towns. This constant upheaval made it challenging to find where to fit in and how to adjust. 

 Growing up, there was a lot of commotion as my siblings were at the age where they started going out and having fun. Witnessing my siblings and parents engage in activities gave me extensive experience with at-home battles with drug and alcohol addiction. I had to grow up very fast, always being told that addiction ran in the family tree, which made me nervous. I didn’t want to be considered “my father’s daughter”; I wanted a different life for myself.  

After moving to different towns, we finally settled in the small town of Nekoosa, where I spent my high school years. During this time, most of my siblings started their own lives. Despite occasional rough patches in their own families, they would always find their way back home. However, I began to feel very alone as I rarely saw my siblings or my father.  

Not long after, my mother’s medical issues worsened, and I became her caregiver. This responsibility took a negative toll on my mental health. Taking care of her meant missing out on a lot of school, sports, and my own life. I started to party, neglecting school and myself, as I was not a top priority in my mind. My focus was ensuring my mother was taken care of, which decreased my self-worth and mental health. Looking back, I believe I just wanted to fit in and feel important, to be taken care of instead of always being the caregiver.  

During my junior year of high school, I decided to make a change. I wanted to feel better about myself and stop making decisions that negatively impacted my mental health. I began to prioritize myself and my future, discovering a passion for helping others. Despite the toll that caring for my mother, siblings, nieces, and nephews took on me at a young age, I enjoyed knowing that I was positively impacting their lives. I started taking school more seriously, working more hours at my part-time job, and eventually returned to school to become a CNA. These long, tiring days brought me a sense of accomplishment as I became a break in the cycle within my family.  

Although I experienced hardships and had to grow up quickly, I wouldn’t change any of it. It has shaped me into who I am today and taught me how to help others, including myself. I have made my ambitions and goals in life a priority, which has helped me find my passion.