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Hello,

My name is Stephanie Mora. I am a mother who works for a local small business. Two of my four children were enrolled in different Highline schools until March of 2020. Like many other families in our community, my husband and I searched for the best way during the pandemic to support our children’s education. That’s when I added homeschooling mom to my resume.

I am the daughter of an immigrant. My story begins in California when my mother left my abusive, addict father. Thanks to an observant teacher at school, child protective services (CPS) became involved and gave my mother the option to stay with my father and lose us, or leave. She chose the latter which left her unemployed, and living with us kids in a shelter. My mother worked hard to learn English and find a job with the help of an amazingly kind social worker. My mother knew something had to change. We moved to Burien in 2000. It was then that I had a chance to see the welcoming and diverse community that I have come to love so much.

I attended school in the Highline district while my mother supported us working in cosmetology. Eventually, she opened her own salon and I would walk there after school and help. I look back at that time and realize that without the help of some amazing teachers in the Highline school district, it’s very possible my life would be very different today.

When I entered high school I fell in with the wrong crowd. I was an easy target, as these older kids soon realized I came from a broken family and that my mom wasn't home for the most part. She had to work hard being a single mother trying to give her children a better life. I was victimized and some horrible things happened to me. When my mother found out what had happened and the danger I was still in, we left for Mexico. For a year and a half, we lived in a tiny shack that somehow managed to survive every single hurricane. It was here that I came to understand financial hardship first hand.

We returned to Burien when I was 16. At 17, I became pregnant which caused my home situation to become worse. We were living with my mom's boyfriend at the time, and he kicked me out. Being a homeless teen mom was one of the hardest things I would face as a mother. I received a lot of help and support from the local church I had recently started attending. For that, I will be forever grateful. Again, I saw the generosity of the Burien community that I love.

Family

While these experiences were painful, I have emerged stronger because of them. I share my story because I believe no child should ever have to go through what I’ve gone through. I am not a victim, I am an advocate for children.

Tiny Shack
Tiny Shack

If not for some amazing community members, teachers and local members of the faith community, I don’t know that I would’ve survived such a hard pregnancy. At 19, I married the father of my child and we’ve gone on to have three more children.

After my second child, I knew I wanted to give back some of the generosity shown to me. I started working in Public health to help expectant low-income families. I worked for both Open Arms perinatal Services and Neighborhood House. Working in Public Health has reinforced for me what low-income families need. I’ve also been volunteering my time to help our local homeless population through our community organizations. I believe I can help our community based on my experiences because I know what’s needed as a Burien City Council Member. I want others to be empowered to have a better life in our beautiful, generous community.

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