Kadette’s story was originally written by Melissa Catalanotto and featured on the Central Florida Future website. It was part of UCF’s United Way Campaign to help Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. With permission, we have edited it for length.
Kadette Cantave and her two sons – 9 and 12, have been living at the Coalition since January 2013, when she lost her full-time job. Kadette, who had always worked two jobs to raise her children, found herself struggling more when her children’s father was deported four years ago.
“I got laid off and I was barely making it with two jobs,” Cantave said. “I am a single mother, I have two sons, so when I lost my primary job, it became really difficult for me to sustain my bills and my responsibilities.”
“I was naïve to think that people who ended up in a shelter or homeless did something wrong or something bad. Sometimes life just happens.” She said she became depressed when she got to the shelter but has since realized that it was more of a blessing in disguise.
While living at the Women’s Residential & Counseling Center (WRCC), the Coalition paid for Kadette to take refresher courses to earn her nursing license.
“I’m actually happier; I spend more time with my kids because I’m not working the two jobs. I’m not trying to run here, I’m not trying to run there, and again my priorities are straight with my education.”
When asked about her experience with the Coalition, Kadette shares, “It kind of helped me; made me a better person, as crazy [as] that sounds. They became my family in a way, because they didn’t have to encourage me, they gave me the courage.” “These people don’t know me from a can of paint, and they gave me encouragement. It made me realize that if total strangers could have faith in me, I need to have faith in myself.”