Real talk between moms

01.27.20

Last year, our Baltimore County team helped Rickiea Sanders move her family from the emergency shelter into a home of their own. Clinic Manager La Keesha Arrington-Vega sat down with Rickiea to reflect on their strong and spirited bond.


Rickiea: I’m from Baltimore, born and raised. I didn’t have a mom and dad growing up – I had a godmom. So when she passed away, my kids were all I had. Last year, we spent Christmas in a hotel, and then we came to the shelter. We were there for eight months. La Keesha is our hero.

La Keesha: You are your own hero. You advocated for yourself as much as we did.

Rickiea: Yeah. I’m a go-getter. Once I stick my mind to something, I have to get it. I had to get out of the shelter. I was pregnant with twins. I had to follow curfew and eat the same food every day. My kids were around drugs.

La Keesha: I tried to help you as a human being and a mom. Sometimes that meant the kids were in my office—eating all my fruit snacks! But we helped you with health insurance and getting your kids covered. Our case manager, Umoh, helped you apply for disability, negotiated your lease and turned over every stone in the county to secure the deposit. I really just coordinated the appointments, transportation and made sure you were being taken care of.

Rickiea: Now I have a cozy apartment on the West side. I’ve been there three months. It’s not perfect, but I cook every day. I don’t have to wake up with others around me. I can use the bathroom in private…oh wait, not with seven kids I can’t! But day-by-day, I’m working on myself and my attitude, too. I’m learning to be patient with my kids.

La Keesha: I have one child, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it some days. Watching you, I’ve seen a quiet, dignified strength. You’ve got a loud strength, too (laughs), but I’ve learned that it’s okay to take help when it’s offered.

Rickiea: There’s not a lot of people who push me to be successful. Even though you get on my nerves, I love you.


Looking to build relationships across boundaries like La Keesha and Rickiea?
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