Saturday, October 13, 2012

Children in Poverty: Ellie

Here's my edit of one of three families I spent time with for the News-Leader's Children in Poverty Series.  I wish I could've spent more time with the Ammermans.  They're such a sweet and loving family.  Photo gallery of the Ammermans.

Ellie Ammerman, 11, looks out the window on the way to school on August 24, 2012.  Ellie sometimes worries about her family's financial situation, but knows that her grandparents will always help them out if they need it.

Ellie takes a sip of her mom's coffee after her morning shower on August 24, 2012.  They have moved many times since Carmen divorced Ellie's father and now live in a trailer owned by Carmen's mother.  Carmen pays the bills and remodels it in lieu of paying rent. Carmen also works two jobs and is pursuing a master's degree. 

Ellie Ammerman, 11, rides to Pipkin Middle School on August 24, 2012 with her sister's dog, Zoey, in the van given to her mother by a family member.  When Ellie chose to go to Pipkin, her mom, Carmen Ammerman, wasn't sure how she would get her there.  "It may not be the best car in the world but it does what it's supposed to do," Ellie said. 

Ellie Ammerman matches words to their definitions in Scott Draper’s advanced humanities class at Pipkin Middle School on August 24, 2012. It’s hugely important to Ellie’s mother, Carmen, that Ellie makes the most of her education.  Ellie chose the school because of its International Baccalaureate Middle Years program.   "Giving your kids a solid foundation, educationally and emotionally, is every bit as important as giving them financial support," said Carmen.

Ellie Ammerman kisses one of her two kittens after school in the family's mobile home on August 16, 2012. 

Ellie, 11, and Carmen Ammerman pray before a dinner of pulled pork and corn, Ellie's favorite vegetable, on August 16, 2012.  Carmen is frustrated that healthy food costs so much more than unhealthy food.  "I love family dinner," Ellie said.  It's a family ritual for everyone to share two favorite things about their day.

Ellie hugs her mom, Carmen, before dinner on September 12, 2012.   "I could get three jobs, but in 20 years, I'm not going to care about those jobs," Carmen said. "I'm going to care about the job I did with these girls and whether or not they got an education and love themselves."

Carmen Ammerman reads "To Kill a Mockingbird" to her daughter Ellie, who wanted to go to bed early after an exhausting second day of school on August 16, 2012.

I didn't include photos of Ellie's sister, Shelby, because she wasn't around much when I was and I wanted to focus the story on Ellie.  Shelby is a warm and articulate recent high school graduate who is trying to figure out what to do with her life. She works at a restaurant and goes to community college full time. 

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