This preschool teacher had to step in when she learned about one of her students’ harrowing family life

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Have you ever had one of those gut feelings that just won’t go away? You just get a feeling that something really isn’t right. Sometimes, it seems as though no matter what we do, there is always that voice at the back of our head making us stop and think about something when things don’t feel right. They say to always trust your gut because it is our natural reaction and feeling that is trying to tell us something.

Often times this gut feeling comes out when we’re entering an area that isn’t safe and something deep insides us tells us to turn around before we get into danger. Other times we feel this reaction when we meet someone for the first time. For one preschool teacher, she was about to learn how her gut feeling was going to turn into a whole lot more. Little did she know that it turned out to be so much worse than she could have imagined.

Building strong bonds

Teachers often build bonds with their students. Working so closely with one another means teachers and children can grow pretty close throughout the school year. After all, they are learning skills they may use throughout the rest of their lives.

This teacher was ready for the new school year when a little girl walked into her class who was about to change her life. Little did she know, but this teacher’s gut feeling about one of her preschoolers was about to turn out worse than she imagined.

A new student

Dana Cruse works as a pre-kindergarten teacher at Little Bears Childcare in Colorado Springs. The teacher will soon get the opportunity to see many youngsters come and go from her classroom, but there was one that was about to have more of an impact that Dana ever imagined.

Being a pre-k teacher usually means fun in the sandbox and making things with paste. However, this preschooler and her story were about to have a significant impact on everyone.

A silent goodbye

To Dana, it seems as though it was only yesterday that Jenna Aubuchont walked into her classroom with her mother. Jenna is just four years old, and her mom, Bethany, wanted to give her daughter a kiss on the forehead before her first day of school.

However, there was no response from the little girl. Dana was immediately intrigued and wanted to learn all about Jenna. The teacher had no idea how this was only the beginning of an entire journey.

A sudden change

It wasn’t long before Dana spent the next eight weeks following the youngster around the classroom. It was their time together that gave Dana the chance to learn Jenna had been diagnosed with nonverbal autism.

Although the toddler had been learning to speak fluently for the first two years of her life, it was as though something suddenly changed. Jenna now struggled to express herself through spoken words, and mainly relied on her body language and nonverbal communications, such as laughter.

Learning the language

The pre-k class was able to offer lots of sessions with Jenna in the hope the toddler would one day learn how to speak once again. Although Jenna typically uses babbles to communicate, it looks as though they have been able to make some significant breakthroughs in just a few weeks.

In fact, Jenna was able to learn five new words after only one session. Everyone, including, Dana, is hopeful that Jenna will one day get her speech back.

Learning the truth

Jenna prefers to keep her words to herself. However, it looked as though Dana was the exception. The teacher spent many days building a strong bond with the youngster as she wanted to learn all about her life outside of the classroom.

It wasn’t long before Dana understood that life had once been so different for Jenna. Even at four years old, the youngster had lived through more than many of us. Dana knew she needed to find a way to help.

A powerful mask

All of their time together soon showed Dana how loving and caring Jenna was. As if that wasn’t enough, the youngster often gets excited whenever she is being chased around the playground or is climbing, painting, or riding the school bus.

To top it off, one of Jenna’s favorite activities is to organize toys into collections. The youngster always seemed able to bring laughter to everyone around her. However, that joy was hiding a much darker secret underneath.

A former life

It turned out that Jenna hadn’t always lived in Colorado. In fact, the family once called Texas “home.” Bethany and Jenna, along with her two sisters, Emma and Kenna, all lived with their mom and dad in The Lone Star State.

It looked as though life couldn’t get much better for the family of five. That was until a brand new chapter was about to see all their joy disappear before their very eyes. Everything was about to change.

Focusing on the family

Dana knew that she needed to talk to Bethany if she stood a chance of learning what happened to the family. It was only then that the teacher began to understand the horrifying truth.

Bethany explained how everything had been going well for the family, and she quit her job to focus on raising Jenna who had recently been diagnosed with autism. It wasn’t long after she left her career that everything changed for Bethany and her daughters.

One problem after another

Jenna’s father soon developed an addiction to illegal substances. His personal demons meant he not only lost his job, but the father was also arrested. Bethany was no left as a single mother raising three girls all alone.

Plus, with no money coming through the door, things were about to get even worse. It once looked as though life couldn’t get better. Now, Bethany spent the days worrying about how she was ever going to put food on the table. She needed to find a way out of her situation – and fast.

A fresh beginning

Bethany continued to search for a way to make their new life work for two years. Unfortunately, it looked as though the world had other ideas. Bethany struggled to keep up with the piling bills that were about to mean the family would lose their house.

She needed to find a way to make a fresh start for her daughters before it was too late. Thankfully, it looked as though Bethany’s prayers were about to be answered. Her friends wanted to help.

Looking to the future

Friends of Bethany’s soon got in contact with the mother as they knew how much she was struggling. They lived up in Colorado and offered to pay for Bethany and the girls if they could move across the country.

Bethany knew it was her final hope, so she packed up her things and drove hundreds of miles away from home to start her new life. It was the chance the family needed to start all over again. Little did Bethany know that this was about to mark the beginning of even more heartbreak.

The beginning of the end

Just a few weeks after Bethany arrived in the state, all of her friends had backed out of their plans to help. There was no money coming into the family home, and Bethany was left with nowhere to sleep.

The family were officially homeless. Bethany knew she needed to find somewhere to stay meaning she was left with no choice but to head to the local homeless shelter. Now, she needed to be there at 3.30pm every day if she wanted a bed.

A bed for the night

As if everything wasn’t bad enough already, the shelter had even more news for Bethany: they are very limited on space. Their lack of beds means the mother and her children aren’t always guaranteed a room for the night.

If there was nowhere to stay, then Bethany was left with no choice but to sleep in her car with her family in the hope they would be in luck the next afternoon. It looked as though nothing could get worse. Oh, how wrong she was.

An unwanted side effect

All that time in the homeless shelter meant the young girls often caught lice from the sheets. This all took both time and money to treat – neither of which Bethany had. To top it off, the mother was also forced to keep her kids home from school whenever they were infected.

The problem? There was no home to go to; they would instead be forced back into the filthy conditions of the shelter. It was a downward spiral, and it looked as though there was no way to break free.

All taking time

Bethany knew she needed to find herself a job if she wanted to break the trap her family had been caught up in. However, her hectic lifestyle meant there often weren’t enough hours in the day.

Having to look after the kids when they weren’t allowed to school meant Bethany was usually occupied in the day while having to line up at the shelter took away the mother’s afternoon. Like millions of people around the world, Bethany was now stuck in a downward spiral.

Wanting to help

Dana couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Young Jenna always brought such a ray of sunshine into the classroom, and she was going away to a life that might not even include a bed for the night.

The teacher couldn’t believe she was always beaming with joy when Jenna has such hardships at home. Dana knew there was no way she could sleep at night while Jenna and her family were homeless. There had to be a way she could help.

Raising the money

It wasn’t long before Dana came up with a solution to the problem. The teacher busied herself setting up a GoFundMe page. Here, people from all around the world would be able to donate towards Bethany and her family.

The teacher set her goal at $10,000 in the hopes she would be able to provide the Aubuchonts with a two-bedroom rental property before Christmas 2018. Dana is desperate for people to show some love and compassion for one another around the holiday season.

Coming together

Amazingly, Dana has been able to raise almost half of her goal in one month. However, there is still a long way to go. Dana hopes that a roof over their heads means Bethany will be able to get her foot back on the career ladder after so long away.

This might be the opportunity Bethany needs to get her family back on their feet. People from everywhere have come together in the hopes of raising the money required, with many donating whatever they can afford.

Learning to grow

To top it off, Dana also continued to treat Jenna in any way she can. The teacher has set up many social media accounts where people can follow their story in the hopes they will all one day get back to living a normal life.

Although the family all head to church every Sunday, Dana knows the importance of a regular routine in the rest of their lives. The teacher wants the stability of a home to help give Jenna, Emma, and Kenna the chance to explore their passions and hobbies.

Future dreams

A new house might also be what Jenna needs to focus on her relevant therapies. Without these, Jenna might never learn to talk again. Dana admits there is one dream she hopes she’ll get to see come true: hearing Jenna tell her family she loves them.

Although the teacher knows Jenna will be able to get there, the youngster needs the support to achieve her goals. Now, Dana hopes to become a speech and language pathologist in the hopes of helping even more children like Jenna in the future.

Teaching me

Dana said that she is trying her best to teach Jenna as much as she can, but she admits that the little girl has taught her way more than she could ever dream of teaching her.

The preschool teacher says she was drawn to the 4 year old and that she thinks her background in education has helped her in being able to form a bond with her. She mentions how intelligent the child is and how she’s just a pleasure.

Special bond

The teacher has said that she is absolutely inspired by Jenna. She says that the girl is silly, clever, and curious – just like any kid her age. She loves painting, climbing, and organizing toys.

Some of Jenna’s favorite things to do are riding the school bus, reading books in the classroom library, and running around outside on the playground. Jenna seems to have a smile and laugh that is just infectious and cheers up anyone near her.

Great mom

An important thing to realize with this story is that it was just a regular family that had fallen down on their luck. It could potentially happen to anyone.

One thing Dana noticed about Jenna’s family is that her mom loved her children more than anything and was a great mom. She could tell that Bethany would go all out and do anything to help her kids. The loving mother was doing everything she could to take care of her family.

 

Other kids

Unfortunately there are way too many kids out there who are in the same situation that Jenna and her family found themselves in. It’s thanks to kind people like Dana that they are able to get back on their feet.

All it takes is someone to lend a helping hand to try and get another person back on their feet. It can even just be a small act of kindness that changes someone’s day, or even their life.

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