Rickey

  Rickey is 24-years-old and lives in McDonough, Georgia with his grandmother, Donna Armstrong and two younger brothers, Reginald and Donald.  At the time when Ms. Armstrong became the children’s legal guardian 24 years ago she had been in a relationship and was getting ready to get married.   “He had been there all this time, while the babies had been born. But as soon as I got custody of them, it was a different thing. So when he left it was just me and those babies, no job, no income, no transportation, no nothing, just me and the babies. I couldn’t work because there was no one I could trust to watch them. So I had to wait for federal assistance, welfare and food stamps to kick in. That was the lowest part of my life. Knowing that I had the responsibility for those kids and seeing no resources coming.”   Donna (Rickey's grandmother)  

 

Rickey is 24-years-old and lives in McDonough, Georgia with his grandmother, Donna Armstrong and two younger brothers, Reginald and Donald.  At the time when Ms. Armstrong became the children’s legal guardian 24 years ago she had been in a relationship and was getting ready to get married.

 

“He had been there all this time, while the babies had been born. But as soon as I got custody of them, it was a different thing. So when he left it was just me and those babies, no job, no income, no transportation, no nothing, just me and the babies. I couldn’t work because there was no one I could trust to watch them. So I had to wait for federal assistance, welfare and food stamps to kick in. That was the lowest part of my life. Knowing that I had the responsibility for those kids and seeing no resources coming.”

 

Donna (Rickey's grandmother)

 

  "Rickey is very stubborn but very outgoing. Although Rickey has cerebral palsy which has affected his speech and ability to learn things, he doesn’t let anything stop him. He’s not talkative but he meets no strangers. The first thing he is going to do is give you a hug and that big ole smile. He’s very helpful and he’s got a giving spirit."   Donna  

 

"Rickey is very stubborn but very outgoing. Although Rickey has cerebral palsy which has affected his speech and ability to learn things, he doesn’t let anything stop him. He’s not talkative but he meets no strangers. The first thing he is going to do is give you a hug and that big ole smile. He’s very helpful and he’s got a giving spirit."

 

Donna

 

  Rickey aged out of high school in 2012. In his last year of high school he participated in an innovative school-based job-training program. As a result, he transitioned out of high school with a job. Rickey is currently working three   four-hour shifts per week at The Golden Corral.   

 

Rickey aged out of high school in 2012. In his last year of high school he participated in an innovative school-based job-training program. As a result, he transitioned out of high school with a job. Rickey is currently working three   four-hour shifts per week at The Golden Corral. 

 

  Working at The Golden Corral is a life-line for Rickey. At work he is part of a larger family and has the opportunity to interact with people from his community. The job experience has also been a big confidence booster. Although Rickey is a respectful and hardworking employee he is at risk at losing his job.   "I’ve had trouble securing transportation for Rickey back and forth to work because I don’t own a car and there is no public transportation. That’s the hindrance. I have to rely on neighbors to get Rickey to work but people in the neighborhood have things to do. I just can’t secure nobody to be stable for those three days. I’m just trusting God for a miracle. He knows I need a car."   Donna  

 

Working at The Golden Corral is a life-line for Rickey. At work he is part of a larger family and has the opportunity to interact with people from his community. The job experience has also been a big confidence booster. Although Rickey is a respectful and hardworking employee he is at risk at losing his job.

 

"I’ve had trouble securing transportation for Rickey back and forth to work because I don’t own a car and there is no public transportation. That’s the hindrance. I have to rely on neighbors to get Rickey to work but people in the neighborhood have things to do. I just can’t secure nobody to be stable for those three days. I’m just trusting God for a miracle. He knows I need a car."

 

Donna

 

  “If Rickey losses his job he will be home playing basketball everyday and just being around because there’s nothing else that Rickey does. His life would be basketball and video games.“   Donna  

 

“If Rickey losses his job he will be home playing basketball everyday and just being around because there’s nothing else that Rickey does. His life would be basketball and video games.“

 

Donna

 

  “Rickey interacts with his brothers and the other young men that he has grown up with in the neighborhood, but that would be it. I don’t think he would be happy with just that because he is outgoing and likes to meet people.”   Donna  

 

“Rickey interacts with his brothers and the other young men that he has grown up with in the neighborhood, but that would be it. I don’t think he would be happy with just that because he is outgoing and likes to meet people.”

 

Donna

 

  “The hard part now it is that they are growing up and becoming more independent. The area we live in isn’t the best. Like a lot of times when they go to the basketball court, I sit here. That’s why it is my favorite spot. I can hear when something’s going on. That’s the most difficult, like with any parent, turning them loose and giving them that independence. You just have to have your faith and belief that what you’ve told them and taught them will stay with them. Because when they leave out this door I’m sitting right here. The young men have to find their way, but there is too much out here you don’t want to just turn them loose.”   Donna  

 

“The hard part now it is that they are growing up and becoming more independent. The area we live in isn’t the best. Like a lot of times when they go to the basketball court, I sit here. That’s why it is my favorite spot. I can hear when something’s going on. That’s the most difficult, like with any parent, turning them loose and giving them that independence. You just have to have your faith and belief that what you’ve told them and taught them will stay with them. Because when they leave out this door I’m sitting right here. The young men have to find their way, but there is too much out here you don’t want to just turn them loose.”

 

Donna

 

Rickey and brother, Reginald, play basketball on the court behind their home.  

Rickey and brother, Reginald, play basketball on the court behind their home.

 

                           Donald on right and LaKisha, Rickey's mother on left   Donna has successfully raised three boys single handedly. She has survived breast cancer twice and has undergone brain surgery that impaired her short-term memory. Despite these challenges Ms. Armstrong has always been there for her grandsons.    “When my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time it was kind of heartbreaking because it was a crucial moment in my life. I was about to graduate from high school. It was very difficult for me to think about the situation and imagine what it would be like if she didn’t survive. I thought about how I could still have her around if something happened to her.  So I thought why not get a tattoo, something she would appreciate, something to keep her legacy going. Therefore, I went and got the tattoo. It hurt a lot but love hurts.”   Donald  

                           Donald on right and LaKisha, Rickey's mother on left

 

Donna has successfully raised three boys single handedly. She has survived breast cancer twice and has undergone brain surgery that impaired her short-term memory. Despite these challenges Ms. Armstrong has always been there for her grandsons. 

 

“When my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time it was kind of heartbreaking because it was a crucial moment in my life. I was about to graduate from high school. It was very difficult for me to think about the situation and imagine what it would be like if she didn’t survive. I thought about how I could still have her around if something happened to her.  So I thought why not get a tattoo, something she would appreciate, something to keep her legacy going. Therefore, I went and got the tattoo. It hurt a lot but love hurts.”

 

Donald

 

      Rickey, Reginald and Donald, from left to right   “We have had challenges and obstacles in our way that could have really kept us from being a family and staying together as a family unit but I’m a praying woman and I believe in the Lord. It has been my faith that has carried me through. It’s been just me and the three of them. The four of us together is like a fist. We have to stick together. When one can’t do then the others gotta come and wrap their arms around them and keep them right there. When one ain’t got, then we got to see what the other one got. If there ain’t but one piece of bread then it gets cut up into four pieces. It’s just that simple. But they know about family. I’ve instilled that in them. There is nobody but us. I’ve given all that I can give them.”   Donna   Rickey is in the process of applying for the Medicaid waiver.  Waiver funding would pay for transportation to get him to work and supports so he can participate in recreational and enriching activities in his community.

      Rickey, Reginald and Donald, from left to right

 

“We have had challenges and obstacles in our way that could have really kept us from being a family and staying together as a family unit but I’m a praying woman and I believe in the Lord. It has been my faith that has carried me through. It’s been just me and the three of them. The four of us together is like a fist. We have to stick together. When one can’t do then the others gotta come and wrap their arms around them and keep them right there. When one ain’t got, then we got to see what the other one got. If there ain’t but one piece of bread then it gets cut up into four pieces. It’s just that simple. But they know about family. I’ve instilled that in them. There is nobody but us. I’ve given all that I can give them.”

 

Donna

 

Rickey is in the process of applying for the Medicaid waiver.  Waiver funding would pay for transportation to get him to work and supports so he can participate in recreational and enriching activities in his community.