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Bernadine Garrett

Since the day my son was born, I’ve been determined to make things work. I want him to have the best so that he doesn’t struggle the way that I have. That’s why I’ve worked a full-time food service job in Patterson since graduating high school in 1990.

I’ve made difficult choices along the way. I made a decision early on that the light bill had to come before making groceries. That meant sometimes I didn’t have lunch. With a child, I knew I just had to have lights at night. When I couldn’t cover the bills, sometimes I’ve had to call and get an extension.

I’m 46 years old now. Through the years, I don’t know what I would have done without my parents — even though I worried about them because they were also on a fixed income. I knew we could go to my parents to have a meal when we needed to — and my mom would offer me a plate to take home. 

To pay my car note, I did housekeeping on the side. When my son needed math tutoring, I stopped getting my hair done — and if you know me, you know that was a big deal! Paying my car off meant not having to work two jobs.

After nearly 15 years, I got a promotion to deli supervisor. I was scared to accept the position because I wasn’t sure I had what it took for the job. I knew the promotion was a way to get out of the awful apartment I had been in for 20 years — so I took the job. I was able to get a good deal on a used trailer and move to a better place.  

Shortly thereafter, my paid-for car was totaled by a guy who was texting. Finding a car that was affordable and reliable wasn’t easy. Plus, the insurance payment wasn’t enough to replace my car – forcing me back into a car note. But with my family’s help, I made it work.

Now, my son is a long way from home playing football on a scholarship for a college in Texas. I’m just so proud. He’s my heart. These days, I work extra hard so I have a little something extra to put in his bank account. I believe he can have a better life that isn’t just about making ends meet. 

I’d do it all again for him. I’m a go-getter. I once was ALICE, but things are looking up!  

Hard working, single mom of a son who is going places