Senior year leaves its mark on any high school student. For Jocelyn Morales, it was life-changing. It was the year she had her son Angel.
Morales hadn’t planned to get pregnant, but wasn’t willing to get the abortion Angel’s father suggested. “I had a choice,” she told the New York Times, “and I chose to be a parent.”
The 21-year-old Sunset Park native appeared today in the New York Times’ Neediest Cases series. The newspaper has for nearly 100 years published stories of those in need to encourage donations to local agencies. The Neediest Cases Fund has raised $244 million for struggling New Yorkers since it began the series in December 1912.
For Morales, help came in a $317 grant. She used the money to buy a professional wardrobe for her job at Americare, a home health service agency.
She puts on those clothes each morning before she kisses her son goodbye and begins her 1.5 hour commute to work in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. The $1,532 she nets each month just covers the bills, with a little extra to buy basketballs, baseballs and soccer-balls for 2 1/2-year-old Angel.
“Everything he has is because of me, because I did it for him,” she said.
Read more of Jocelyn Morales’ story here.