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Single mom rebuilds after abuse

| December 2, 2020 1:00 AM

As part of the annual Press Christmas for All Campaign, we share with readers the stories of the people applying for help. Here’s one of them.

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After escaping an abusive relationship, “Leila” is building a better life — not just for herself, but for her 14-month-old daughter.

“I’ve had to completely turn my life around and change my priorities,” said the 23-year-old single mom.

Leila’s ex-boyfriend became emotionally abusive during her pregnancy. The abuse escalated to physical violence.

She knew the relationship was unsafe, but she was unable to work due to an injury and had no resources. Her ex controlled the couple’s finances.

“He made me terrified to leave,” she said.

After their daughter was born, Leila’s ex was arrested for beating her so badly that she was hospitalized. But he spent just two weeks in jail and was sentenced to probation. He soon got weekend visitation with their daughter.

Afraid to leave their daughter alone with him, Leila agreed to get back together with her ex.

Six weeks later, he beat her again. Their daughter was also injured in the scuffle.

He’s back in jail, Leila said, this time awaiting trial.

Leila attends counseling to help her heal from the trauma she experienced. She’s also interested in becoming an advocate for other domestic violence survivors.

Right now, her focus is on finding stability for her and her daughter and becoming financially independent. To that end, she’s gone back to school, entering the diesel technology program at North Idaho College while working part time.

“I’m trying to keep going forward with school, so we don’t ever get stuck in a situation like that again,” she said.

Leila has been working on engines since she was 15 years old.

“It’s like second nature to me,” she said.

After completing her studies, Leila plans to become a journeyman auto mechanic. She hopes to own her own shop someday.

In the meantime, money is tight. The cost of diapers and groceries adds up, and Leila’s daughter is tall for her age and growing like a weed. She needs winter clothes and shoes, which are tough for Leila to afford.

“Going into the holidays, it’s hard,” Leila said.

Still, Leila has hope for the future. Despite the challenges she faces, she’s determined to be a great mom.

“It takes a lot of time and effort to get back on your feet,” she said. “But no matter how impossible it seems, you can get away.”

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This is the 35th year Press Christmas for All has worked to brighten the lives of Kootenai County residents in need.

Each year, Press readers donate generously to the program. Every penny raised is distributed to Kootenai County residents. All overhead costs are covered by The Hagadone Corp.

The gift recipients are our neighbors who are struggling, including the elderly, disabled, homeless and mentally ill.

Many who seek assistance from Christmas for All are working, but living near or below the poverty level. The beneficiaries of Press Christmas for All are going to keep their dignity intact while the community provides a hand up to help get them back on their feet.

Press Christmas for All is managed by The Hagadone Corp., with assistance from CharityReimagined.Org. It is a legally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit, run entirely by volunteers.

Please help. Make your tax-deductible donation today any of four ways:

• Mail a check to Press Christmas for All, 215 N. Second St., Coeur d’Alene, 83814

• Call The Press and make a secure credit card donation over the phone: 208-664-8176

• Go to cdapress.com. Click on All Sections at the top of the page, then click on Christmas for All 2020.

• Drop off your check at The Press weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.: 215 N. Second St. in downtown CDA.