Participant Profile: Gail

“That first check, it put me right there where I needed to be. I work hard and earn a living, but it’s usually hard to cover all of my bills and be able to relax at the end of the month. But now I’m able to get past that pressure.”


Gail has been working in childcare for 27 years, ever since her first job at a daycare at 13 years old. Now a grandmother to ten grandbabies, Gail’s professional and personal lives have been dedicated to supporting the children around her grow and succeed.

But when COVID-19 hit, her caregiver job was eliminated and she struggled to find work for months.

“That was scary. I’m blessed to have been able to get through it and still keep a roof over my head, but it wasn’t easy and it took a long time to get back on my feet financially.”

When students returned to in-person classes, she was finally able to land a job as a high school security guard. Now, with the help of the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot, Gail’s been able to unload some of the financial burdens that piled up during the pandemic.

Today, Gail’s looking forward to a bit more peace of mind – and hopes to share that relief with her family.


“[The] first thing I did with that check was share some with my grandkids. You know, made sure that they had everything they need for school, work, and all the things they do. My one grandbaby just started his first job, so I made sure he had good uniforms and enough money for bus fare for the summer.”


The pilot has also given her a chance to think about the future. She hopes to begin building a nest egg and manage her money in a way that can benefit her loved ones.

“You know I’m proud to be on my own and take care of myself, but that’s not what this is about. I’m going to make sure everyone is okay. This will be for my kids and my grandkids. I started thinking of maybe getting life insurance. I want to make sure I can take care of my people, and it doesn’t have to be the other way around.”


Woman in security uniform on porch.