Single mother Kendora Knox-Hayden always tries to stay positive despite the challenges she faces.
“That’s my main goal,” the 27-year-old said. “I always try to remain positive, stay happy, no matter what I’m going through.”
She moved to Moline two months ago with her son Ezekiel, 6, and daughter Kalila, 2.
“I was in an abusive relationship ... and it was to the point where I had lost my place in Minnesota,” she said. “I ended up moving back to Chicago with my mom and dad and still had the situation with him, the threats. I was still scared … he was threatening my family if I said anything.”
Once he went to jail on an unrelated offense, Knox-Hayden moved her children into a small apartment with her friend in Moline for a fresh start.
“I’ve been doing a lot better,” she said. “It was a relief when he got locked up. I’m the kind of person who likes to take on new things and it was exciting to just go somewhere else and not have him know where I’m at.”
The children, too, seem happier, she said.
“They’re able to be kids and they don’t have to hide their personality because they’re scared someone’s going to yell at them,” she said.
Still, she faces her share of challenges on a daily basis. Knox-Hayden said her car broke down and needed a battery. She is trying to get her finances in order so that she can move into her own place by the end of the year, which will provide more space for the children.
When she left Chicago, she left a lot of things behind, including beds. She and the children share a large air mattress that is set up in the living room next to the kitchen.
A black sheet divides the apartment to give her and the children some privacy.
Knox-Hayden’s struggles prompted Skip-a-Long Home Network Director Malia Owens to nominate her for Quad-City Times Wish List to get some help with bunk beds for the children and some winter clothing for the family.
“One of my providers was talking about her and how she was living in a tiny apartment with a friend and in desperate need of beds,” she said. “She’s a mom who is a good parent. She is just in hard times right now.”
Knox-Hayden works full-time at Alorica Davenport and part-time at Bath and Body Works. She also is going to school online to get her associate degree in health care management.
Knox-Hayden, who wants to one day be a registered nurse, is slated to graduate in March and hopes to go to Florida in September to take part in the graduation ceremony.
“Of course, I have to let my babies see me walk across the stage, because it’s for them,” she said.
She said she intends to go on to get her bachelor’s and go on to graduate school to better herself for her children.