Saturday 24 August, 2019

One single dad's story of perseverance and love

It's a story of struggle and perseverance for one single father who's beating the odds from facing unemployment, eviction and even flirting with homelessness.

53-year-old Curtis Thomas is the dad of two daughters ages 13 and 9 and a son age 11. In January 2017, what was once a nuclear family, became a single parent home after he and his wife separated leaving him as the main caregiver to his children. The past few months have been an uphill struggle but nothing he's regretful of. 

He lost his job as a forklift operator at Abel Building Solutions. Fast forward to November, things aren't perfect but they are definitely looking up for this family. Speaking with Loop TT via telephone interview on Wednesday, Thomas spoke about the difficulty he faced in coming to terms with being a single parent. He said knowing that three impressionable people depended on him, made him determined to provide for his family, even at times when he may have felt dismayed.

"I've never seen anything so challenging in my life but because of the kids, I had to stay positive, I had to stay focused."

Despite the obstacles Thomas experienced, he noted that things are gradually improving for this family. He said his journey has brought both him and his children closer to God. 

"Before this incident, I wasn't a man who prayed much and during this ordeal, I learned to put my trust in God and my children have too. We were going to Church on Sundays and my children loved it. They would wake up early Sunday morning, long before the time had come to go to church."

The Longdenville man said because of the unpredictable weather pattern and his job as a labourer, he now takes up more jobs on Sundays, making it difficult to attend church.

As for his children, they are excelling at school as his eldest has set her sights on Holy Faith Convent as her first choice following the Secondary Entrance Assessment Examination. 

"Right now, the teachers and the principals in the school are rooting for my daughter to pass for Holy Faith Convent. Most of the time when children are deprived of a parent, they usually fall backwards in grades and in my situation, my children have stepped up because everybody's grades have gotten better."

Thomas noted that although finding permanent employment has proven difficult to come by, he has maximised on his skills to provide for his family. 

"I tried a little taxi work, I tried a little painting. Wherever I got a piece of job to do, I did to try to make ends meet and then my car came and malfunctioned and we fell behind in the rent and the landlord wanted to evict us and it was a downhill slope for a while and it felt hopeless because there was nobody to turn to. I went to places but I wasn't eligible because I'm a dad. But I knew I couldn't give up because these three children were relying on me."

"They have gotten stronger physically, spiritually, mentally because I sit down and talk to them and explain the situation to them and explain that I want them to get their education so that they could try to avoid things like this. The development I've seen in them, I'm impressed."

The father of three said the Single Fathers Association (SFATT) helped him during his darkest moments. He urged single dads like himself to reach out to the non-governmental organisation if they are ever in need of support.






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