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Karen Kennedy Angelo - PIttsburgh, Pennsylvania

Submitted by Neil Joseph Angelo - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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This person has given me the time and opportunities to learn the importance of helping others as best one can.

I am fortunate enough that I may honor my mother this International Women's Day. She helped save me from the streets 10 years ago. Without her support I do not want to even think about what would have happened to me...or the kind of person I would be. 

I have been clean and sober for over 12 years. I work, donate, and even get to participate in my country's government by reading and signing petitions. Sometimes the petitions even help. That may not sound like a whole lot...but once you've had hardly anything then you appreciate everything. No one should have to learn thankfulness that way, but at least I received the opportunity to learn it. My mother helped make that possible. 

She also made it possible for me to go back to school. I still have over a 3.4 GPA. I almost have enough credits to get a Master's degree. 

She brought me to her church where I could grow as person and learn values like compassion, gratitude, understanding, forgiveness, and helping others. She reads Bible verses at some Sunday services and sings in the church choir. She is also a Eucharistic Lay Minister and gives Communion at some services.  I now serve on that church's vestry and help run the PowerPoint slideshow for the services. 

She supported me while I gained and keep employment at a social services agency where I and many others help people in our community achieve their goals for a better life. This allowed me to learn how important helping others really is and why working is valuable. This work also enabled me to go from poor credit to good credit. I hope this will help open up a future for me where I can do more beneficial actions. 

She is a spectacular cook, a wonderful gardener, and an awesome artist. She exemplifies a person who is good to the planet in all three of these areas. 

She also has just recently retired after 30 years of public service as a social worker. She has helped many families and children in this city. She truly cares and did her best all of the time at her vocation. She worked incredibly hard to overcome the obstacles life placed before her and used her experiences to help others. She graduated college, worked full-time, and did it while being a single-parent raising two boys.  She told me to "never give up." She'd tell you the same thing.

This story was submitted as part of Oxam America's International Women's Day initiative to honor women working to right the wrongs of poverty and hunger. Honorees are selected independently by Oxfam supporters. Selection does not imply endorsement or other support from Oxfam America.

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