Education, Understanding, Knowledge
Nailah Abdul-Mubdi talks about how JP’s empowerment program ignited her motivation to pursue her education and make a difference in the lives of others.
Nailah Abdul-Mubdi is a 31-year-old mother of two living in Brooklyn, New York. Like many women who join Jeremiah Program, Nailah’s life took several unexpected turns that made her dreams feel very far away. Here, she explains how the program supports her in accomplishing her goals, reclaiming her personal power, and visualizing a bright future for her children.
What are some of the biggest challenges you faced as a single mother?
With my daughter, I experienced premature labor, and that was totally unexpected. And with her diagnosis or her being hospitalized soon after delivery, birth, I had to stop working, stop everything I had to do—like going to school, going to work—and fully concentrate on her, because she needed aftercare and a lot of services when she was discharged from the hospital.
That type of experience was very different for me because I had to rely on my partner financially. And that also put a strain in our relationship. I experienced domestic violence as well.
From then on, I just was in a dark place because I didn’t have anybody to depend on, to actually give me good advice … like a good support system. I was embarrassed to tell my family what I was going through with my children’s father. So, I finally left the situation. I left with nothing, just my kids and our documents. I just had to start from scratch.
How did you become involved in Jeremiah Program?
I was referred through my therapist because I was going through past traumatic experiences. I was so sick and tired of just staying in the house and dealing with my issues. I just wanted to focus on myself. And I asked my therapist about a program I could join—because we did talk about goals—and one of my goals was to go to school.
Luckily, she had come across the flier about Jeremiah Program. And what caught my eye was that they [focus on] ending poverty [two] generation[s] at a time. [T]hat’s what really interests me in the program.
In your experience, what are the keys to breaking the cycle of poverty?
Education, understanding how money works, and using that knowledge with your own experience. Changing your mindset and being willing to utilize resources to assist in upward mobility.
Which aspect of the Jeremiah Program has made the biggest difference for you?
[T]he program was curated for us having an empowerment course from the beginning. It made me realize who I am as an individual. I’m capable of doing anything, you know? And [it] made me believe that I’m strong, going through challenges. And it really made me aware of my confidence, my strength, and how far I’ve come. So that empowerment really, really helped me a lot mentally. Mindfulness. Personal development.
How has having access to childcare influenced your ability to pursue your goals?
The volunteers that watch the kids are very trustworthy, so I have nothing to worry about. I can just focus what I have to do, and it gives me a good space to actually put myself first, put myself forward, knowing that my children are in good hands.
They’re very social, very happy to be around [and] seeing kids their age. And, not only that, for me, it just gives me more courage and makes me feel happy that my kids are along with me through this journey, and they’re experiencing the positive aspects of it. We build a new family in this program.
What do you feel passionate about?
Uplifting people because I’ve encountered disappointments, failures, and doubts. With the help of Jeremiah Program, I have constructed this fight for change and compassion for other people.
What are some of the big goals you are working on right now?
With the support of my family coach, my goal [is] finishing my last semester, graduating with my associate’s, and continuing on with my bachelor’s degree. I plan on operating my own nonprofit organization for women that have had the same experience as me. And also finding a home, and really making a difference in society. That’s my goal. … I feel like I should be involved in making decisions in society.
What you want people to know about the Jeremiah Program?
I want people to know that the Jeremiah Program is a sanctuary to assist individuals, such as myself, to uplift and encourage us that we are more than our circumstances. They are always available to assist us with our needs and to help us keep the focus on our goals.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.