Gail’s Story: Finding Hope at A New Leaf

June 25, 2018

As a single parent of a child, Gail, had done everything right. She had gone to college, received a degree, and secured a good paying job. She was the proud mother of a son, Mateo. While her parents lived in Tucson, Gail was especially close to her mother’s family – Gail’s aunts, uncles, and cousins – who lived in Colombia. Gail decided to take a chance and move to Colombia and pursue a dream of teaching English and living close to her family.

Gail was fortunate to receive a job offer to teach English in Colombia and sold her belongings for the move. Upon arriving, however, Gail was given the bad news that a teacher’s strike had engulfed the city, and she would not be able to work as a teacher. Gail wanted to enroll her son Mateo in school, but the only schools that were open were private schools. They were very expensive and out of Gail’s budget and a distance away from where they were living. The strike prevented Gail from enrolling her son in any public school.

As Gail depleted her emergency funds, she realized she would need to move back to the United States. She had to make a conscientious decision to move back home for her stability and her son’s well-being.

Gail used her last savings and purchased tickets to the United States where she hoped to rebuild her life. Upon arriving, Gail was grateful to be back home with her parents and siblings. She immediately secured a part-time job, but the position did not allow her to meet her housing needs.

Gail needed to find a lifeline, a resource that could help her find a firmer footing. Then, a friend from Mesa suggested she move to El Rancho apartments, a low-cost housing community. Gail did and was able to receive the assistance of A New Leaf’s unique MesaCAN service.

MesaCAN is a community action organization with the mission of helping residents in emergency situations through financial support, budget coaching, building life skills, and workforce development. MesaCAN’s helpful staff worked with Gail to provide assistance and help her with the first month’s rent and utilities, as well as coaching and budget planning. It was exactly what she needed at this time of need.

MesaCAN is a vital service in the Valley and is dedicated to helping people find hope in difficult situations. The programs of MesaCAN helped transform Gail’s life, and now she has a full time job with a determination to create a better life for her and her son. In an effort to pay it forward, Gail decided to volunteer at MesaCAN and recently joined the MesaCAN Tripartite Board where she will be able to make a lasting impact on the lives of other mothers and families in need. She was accepted onto the Board in February 2018.

Gail is now sharing her story to raise awareness of the helpful services of MesaCAN and promote anti-poverty efforts in local neighborhoods. If you know of someone who needs a lifeline just like Gail, you can find more information about A New Leaf’s MesaCAN services on the MesaCAN page at

The quote that Gail lives by and has helped her throughout her transition comes from her favorite Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. ”It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old. They grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.” Although things didn’t work out like Gail expected, she stays optimistic in knowing she can achieve anything she sets her mind to do.


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