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Stories of Strength: Single grandmother proves it’s never too late to chase goals

Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 10:00 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 27, 2022 at 10:35 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - With four young children to take care of, Mary Rose Garcia’s life as a single mother soon became one as a single grandmother. While trying to be a positive figure for the children, she discovered her calling along the way.

“I wanted to be a good role model for them. I also had been intrigued by the Children’s Advocacy Center when I came to training, when I was a volunteer member of the Bikers Against Child Abuse,” Garcia said. “We came here, I did a training and I thought ‘I really want to work at this place.’”

But for that to happen, she needed a college degree. Soon, she enrolled as an upstart college student, in her late forties.

“I looked around and all I saw was these young kids! And, I was like ‘How am I going to keep up with them?’ My brain doesn’t work as well as theirs does! But, I managed.”

Garcia now works at the Children’s Advocacy Center as a forensic interviewer. As a student, she earned an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, and finally, a master’s degree. Garcia says the balancing act was not easy.

“Because you’re working full-time. You have kids. You have a family. You have Mom. It’s a lot.”

Garcia’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s years ago.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” she said. “To know she’s not that same little ol’ lady before with all this spunk. She still has spunk, but she doesn’t remember from one moment to the next what I just told her. The day that she doesn’t remember who I am, that will be the most heartbreaking.”

Mary Rose points to her faith and her family as sources for motivation.

“God’s a big part of my life now. I just know that I was meant to be here I believe I was meant to be there for my kids and grandkids. I really do like life. I really enjoy helping people. I really enjoy helping my family. I really enjoy... I just really enjoy life.”

While balancing her family life with work, others have noticed.

“There’s nobody that works harder here than Mary Rose, and no one willing more to step forward when needed,” says Derek Danner, Children’s Advocacy Center’s executive director.

For Mary Rose, the dedication wasn’t just for herself. She represented other single parents and grandparents who are in a similar situation.

“I kind of felt like there was lots of other people out there that have been through things,” she says. “There are lots of grandparents out there that are doing the same thing that I’ve done.”

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