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Help for single moms in Ohio: 38 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in Ohio struggling to make ends meet, keep reading for resources that help with: 

Every month, I give out $500 cash to one single mom struggling with money, health, stress, child care, illness or loneliness — no strings attached. 

Qualifications are simple:

1. You're a single mom.

2. You need the money right now.

Fill out this form to apply:

(Note that the figures and information in this post are current as of publication date.)

Many of the programs on this list determine eligibility as a percentage of the federal poverty level (FPL). These are the 2023 federal poverty guidelines:

Number of people in family/householdAnnual income

* For families/households with more than 8 people, add $5,140 for each additional person.

You can also look up your area median income (AMI) here.

Emergency cash for low-income families in Ohio

If you need cash to pay bills, buy gas, feed your family, or for any other reason, these resources can help:

Ohio Works First (OWF)

Ohio Works First (OWF) is Ohio’s version of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides cash benefits for qualifying families for up to 36 months (though extensions may be granted in cases of domestic violence and physical/mental incapacity). 

The program is available to: 

  • Families with children
  • Children living with non-parental guardians 
  • Women who are six months pregnant

The amount paid out varies depending on household income. The average OWF payment in November 2021 was $221 per recipient (the most recent data available).


  • U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen
  • Have children under 18 or under 19 if a full-time student
  • Children must be deprived due to:
    • Continued absence from the home from at least one parent
    • Physical/mental incapacity of at least one parent
    • Death of a parent
  • Mother must apply for and accept other benefits such as:
    • Unemployment compensation
    • Workman’s compensation
    • Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI)
    • Child support
  • Children and mother must have social security number
  • Children ages 6 to 17 who have not graduated high school or received equivalent certificate must attend school with satisfactory attendance
  • Preschool children must be immunized
  • Paternity of child must be established at application and when a child is added
  • Adult recipients are required to participate in work activities for at least 30 hours/week
  • Must cooperate with Office of Child Support Services
  • Meet certain income limits — $915/month for a family of three

How to get help:

More emergency cash help in Ohio: 

Single moms in Ohio can visit or dial 2-1-1 to ask for assistance.

Check out these posts for more ways to get emergency cash: 

These are some more tips for getting cash quickly: 

Housing help for single moms in Ohio

If you need help finding a place to live or paying your rent/mortgage, these programs can help: 

Rental assistance in Ohio

There are multiple programs in Ohio to help renters find housing and pay their rent:

Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA)’s Emergency Rental Assistance

OHFA established a program to provide financial relief for renters who experienced a loss of income because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Renters can receive assistance for up to six months. 


  • Household income at or below 50% of AMI with priority given to households with income at or below 30% of AMI
  • Must not be able to pay rent and at imminent risk of eviction
  • Rental payments must not exceed 120% of the HUD Fair Market Rent (FMR) for the Continua of Care service area, unless approved by OHFA

How to get help: 


Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)**

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers affordable housing and vouchers to help low-income households pay their rent.


  • Meet income limits specified by HUD-less than 50% of median income for the county in which you live. You can find your county’s income limits on the HUD website.
  • Must be a citizen or eligible immigrant
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be a resident of the state of Ohio

How to get help: 

  • Contact your local public housing agency and ask how to apply for assistance
  • Preliminary applications are accepted through the DCA Applicant Portal
  • Call 888-858-6085
  • To apply, you will need your social security number, third-party documentation of income, preliminary application form, and signed consent forms

Mortgage assistance in Ohio

This program helps low-income homeowners in Ohio: 

Save The Dream Ohio Program

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) launched the Save The Dream Ohio program in April 2022 to assist homeowners whose income was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Eligible Ohio homeowners may receive mortgage payments for up to six months and can receive up to $25,000 in assistance. 


  • Homeowner in Ohio 
  • Have experienced loss of income from the pandemic
  • Have experienced increased expenses due to the pandemic
  • Earn an income at or below the threshold — $132,850/year for a family of three

How to get help: 


Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Homeless and special needs housing assistance in Ohio 

The following programs are designed to help homeless individuals and families and those at risk of homelessness: 

Ohio 811 Rental Assistance Program

This program provides extremely low-income households of one or more adults with disabilities access to subsidized housing and supportive services. This program is not open for public applications. 

The Ohio Department of Medicaid, Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services manage statewide waiting lists for eligible individuals.


  • Household contains one or more adults with a disability
  • Valid State ID or Drivers License
  • Provide birth certificate, social security card or proof of citizenship
  • Most recent Social Security Administration (SSA) award letter for Social Security benefits
  • Six most recent, consecutive pay stubs
  • Copy of unemployment letter or benefits (if applicable)

How to get help:

Learn more about contacting Referral Agents with this link or by emailing [email protected].

SSI/SSDI, Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) Ohio

SOAR Ohio utilizes the Social Security benefits application process to provide Ohio’s most vulnerable residents with safe housing. SOAR provides specialists and aids on behalf of individuals with disability, severe mental illness, or debilitating medical diagnosis.


Individuals with severe mental illness or disability that inhibits their ability to work, who are: 

  • Homeless
  • At risk of being homeless
  • Recently discharged from prison, nursing home, or other institution

How to get help:

  • Visit the SOAR Ohio website
  • Call the program director at 614-280-1984, ext.137

Single Parents Rock

Single Parents Rock is an Ohio-based nonprofit that helps single parents experiencing hardship due to domestic violence. To date, the organization has helped 50 families and has been operating since 2019. 

The nonprofit offers:

  • Planning for overall safety at home and elsewhere
  • Advocacy in court
  • Transportation to and from court and services to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking
  • Rides to safe houses or shelters within a 250-mile radius


  • Single parent living or near Dayton or Englewood, Ohio that needs help after fleeing domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking

How to get help:


Move to PROSPER is a three-year program for low-income single moms in Ohio that empowers them to grow their income, improve the health of their family, and move to areas with good schools and quality housing.

The nonprofit provides three years of rental assistance at two-bedroom apartments in Bexley, Big Walnut, Blacklick, Columbus, Dublin, Gahanna, Grandview, Hilliard, Licking Heights, Lewis Center, New Albany, Olentangy Local, Reynoldsburg, Sunbury, Upper Arlington, Westerville, and Worthington, Ohio.


  • Single female, head of household
  • Mother of up to three children, 13 and under
  • Very low income ($23,000 – $41,900 income limits based on family size)
  • Experiencing housing insecurity and not receiving housing assistance
  • Children eligible for Medicaid
  • Willing to participate in coaching and move to a community with more resources

How to get help:

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in Ohio

If you are struggling to pay your utility bills in Ohio, check out the following programs:

Home Energy Assistance (HEAP) in Ohio

HEAP helps eligible households with their home heating and cooling bills through energy bill payment assistance.


  • U.S. Citizen or legally admitted immigrant
  • Resident of Ohio
  • Responsible for paying cost of energy bills
  • Total gross annual household income — for example, less than $40,302.50 for a family of three. 

How to get help:

  • More Information on HEAP 
  • Apply Online
  • Call (800) 282-0880

Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP)

HWAP helps eligible households with projects that improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce their energy costs, including:

  • Air and duct sealing
  • Wall, floor, attic insulation
  • Heating, ventilation, air conditioning system improvements
  • Lighting efficiency 
  • Hot water tank insulation
  • Water conservation devices

Home inspections are ordered to determine what services are needed. 


  • Priority is given to Ohio Residents ages 60+
  • Families who have received Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Home Energy Assistance (HEAP) during the last 12 months are automatically eligible
  • Household income at or below 200% of FPL — $46,060 for a family of three. 

How to get help:

Contact your local HWAP provider

Low-Income Household Water Assistance (LIHWAP) in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Development and The Breathing Association provide financial assistance to eligible Ohioans’ water and wastewater bills. The program will run through October 2023.

The maximum amount for bill payment assistance is up to $750 for water, up to $750 for wastewater/sewage or $1500 for water and wastewater combined.


  • Income 175% or less of FPL
  • Utilities in disconnect status, shut off, or in need of payment

How to get help:

  • Call 614-969-0978 to schedule an appointment
  • Find office locations and hours of operation on the Breathing Association website

Ohio PIPP Plan

The Percentage of Income Payment Plan or PIPP is a program that helps Ohioans pay for energy bills throughout the year based on a percentage of their household income.

Through the plan, you’ll 5% of your gross income for gas heat and 5% for your electric bill. If your entire home is run by electric, you’ll pay 10% of your gross income. The state of Ohio pays for the remainder of your bill and you must make a minimum monthly payment of $10.

If you pay on time and in full for 24 months, any outstanding balance you may have is forgiven. You must verify your income and meet income requirements annually to remain in the program.


  • Resident of Ohio
  • Household income at or below 175% of the FPL for household size
  • Use a utility that is regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Ohio

How to get help:

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in Ohio

The following medical and dental services are available to qualifying individuals and families in the state of Ohio:

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) in Ohio

HRSA, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, funds health centers that provide free or subsidized health and dental care to low-income people and those otherwise unable to access quality health care, like people living in rural areas.

HRSA also offers a 24/7 free and confidential mental health hotline for pregnant and new moms. Dial 833-943-5746 (833-9-HELP4MOMS) if you are struggling.


Each health center sets its own eligibility criteria for free or reduced cost care. 

How to get help:

Find an HRSA health center in Ohio by typing in your address on HRSA’s search tool.

Ohio Medicaid

Medicaid is a medical assistance program that helps low-income families pay for some or all of their medical bills. 

Ohio requires most individuals who receive Medicaid to join a managed care plan to receive health care. Managed care plans are health insurance companies licensed by the Ohio Department of Insurance that have a provider agreement with the Ohio Department of Medicaid to provide coordinated health care to Medicaid beneficiaries.


  • Resident of Ohio
  • U.S. national citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien
  • Have or get a Social Security number
  • Individuals with low-income
  • Pregnant women, infants, and children
  • Older adults
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Meet income guidelines — $33,064/year for adults with three people in their household

How to get help:

  • Contact your county’s Medicaid agency via the state directory
  • Call the consumer hotline at 800-324-8680

OhioHealth Charity Care

OhioHealth is a healthcare outreach of the United Methodist Church providing health services in 47 Ohio counties. They serve Ohio residents, even if they are unable to pay through the charity care program.


  • Free care if your household income is less than 200% of the FPL
  • Sliding scale fees offered to households between 200-400% of the FPL
  • Care provided for those who do not meet income guidelines but are experiencing a documented hardship impacting their ability to pay

If you do not qualify for care, OhioHealth also offers interest-free loans for up to 12 months to help you break up the payments and discounts for uninsured individuals who aren't eligible for charity care.

How to get help:

  • Call 614-566-1505

Children with Medical Handicaps (CMH)

The Ohio Department of Health administers the CMH program which provides resources to help parents get treatment for special needs children. The program also aids parents in finding sources of payment for these necessary health services.

CMH has three options for assistance:

  • Diagnostic program: Up to six months of service to establish a diagnosis and treatment plan through a CMH-approved medical provider
  • Treatment program: Up to one year of treatment for an eligible condition such as cerebral palsy, sickle cell disease, or scoliosis
  • Service coordination program: Offers help finding the right health services for your child


  • Residents of Ohio
  • Children between the ages of 0 and 23
  • Under the care of a CMH-approved doctor  

How to get help:


Healthchek is Ohio's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) Program for babies, children, and young adults under age 21 who are already enrolled in Medicaid.

Healthchek covers 10 check-ups in the first two years of child’s life and annual check-ups thereafter, and provides comprehensive physical examinations including:

  • Medical history
  • Complete unclothed exam (with parent approval)
  • Developmental screening (to assess if child's physical and mental abilities are age appropriate)
  • Vision screening
  • Dental screening
  • Hearing assessment
  • Immunization assessment (making sure child receives them on time)
  • Lead screening


Babies, children and young adults under age 21 who are already enrolled in Medicaid

How to get help:

Healthy Start-Healthy Families

Healthy Start-Healthy Families are programs through the Ohio Department of Medicaid. It helps children, families, and pregnant women get access to free or low-cost dental care medications, doctor visits, hospital care, and vaccinations.


To qualify for Healthy Start, you must be approved for Medicaid or CHIP.

For Medicaid recipients, you must:

  • Be an insured or uninsured person up to age 19 in a household with income that does not exceed 156% of the FPL; or
  • Be pregnant in a family with an income level up to 200% of the FPL

For CHIP recipients, you must:

  • Be an insured or uninsured person up to age 19 in a household with income that does not exceed 206% of the FPL

To qualify for Healthy Families, you must:

  • Have a family with at least one child younger than 19 and an income that does not exceed 90% of the FPL

How to get help:

Breast and Cervical Cancer Project

Federal law allows states to provide full Medicaid coverage to eligible women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer.


  • Women who have been screened for breast or cervical cancer through Ohio Department of Health
  • Aged 21 to 64 years of age
  • In need of treatment for breast and/or cervical cancer, including precancerous conditions (eligibility will end when the treatment is completed)
  • Uninsured 
  • Ohio residents
  • U.S. citizens or qualified non-citizens (verification of U.S. citizenship or non-citizen status is required)
  • Income under 300% of FPL

How to get help:

Safety Net Dental Clinics 

The Ohio Department of Health offers dental clinics for people on Medicaid that offer sliding-scale fees, reduced fees, or free care to patients who don't have dental insurance or can't afford to pay for dental visits. These clinics provide basic dental care like:  

  • Exams
  • X-rays
  • Fillings
  • Extractions
  • Root canals
  • Dentures


  • Elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, medically compromised, children or those living in remote geographical areas with unmet oral health needs
  • Ohio residents who do not already have a private dentist
  • Enrolled in Medicaid or don’t have adequate dental insurance
  • Unable to afford out-of-pocket care

How to get help: 

Contact your local Safety Net Dental Care provider.

Ohio OPTIONS (Ohio Partnership To Improve Oral health through access to Needed Services)

This state program provides dental care to low income, uninsured families and individuals by assigning patients to volunteer dentists. 


For free dental care, applicants must have no means to afford dental care and must meet ONE of the following criteria: 

  • Over 65 years of age
  • Permanently disabled
  • Need medically necessary dental care

For the discounted dental program, applicants must have severe dental decay and/or infections and:

  • Limited resources to pay for discounted dental services
  • Must fall within 161% to 200% of FPL
  • No access to private or public dental insurance 
  • Provide proof of income

The program is accepting applicants from some, but not all counties

How to get help: 

Call 888-765-6789 or visit the Dental Lifeline Network website.

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in Ohio

A number of federal and state food and nutrition programs are available across the state:

The Ohio Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp program) provides food benefits and nutrition education to low-income households. 

SNAP recipients are issued an EBT card that can be used like an ATM card to purchase food in retail food stores, including:

  • Breads
  • Cereals
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Plants and seeds to grow food 


  • Ohio resident
  • Person or persons age 60 and over
  • Person with a disability (child, spouse, parent, yourself)
  • Household’s income is at 130% of FPL

How to get help: 

  • Apply online at the Ohio Benefits website
  • Once your application is filed, a DFCS case manager will interview you
  • Contact your county agency by calling 1-866-635-3748

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) 

Federal program that helps low-income Ohioans supplement their diet by providing emergency nutrition at no cost through local food banks and soup kitchens.


Household income is below 200% of the FPL.

How to get help: 

Find your local food bank with this map.

Ohio’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Ohio WIC helps eligible pregnant and breastfeeding women, women who recently had a baby, infants, and children up to 5 years of age by providing services such as:

  • Free infant formula 
  • Highly nutritious foods
  • Nutrition education
  • Breastfeeding education and support


  • Low-income, pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, for up to one year postpartum
  • Women up to six months postpartum who are not breastfeeding
  • Infants and children under 5 years old, including foster children
  • Low-income sole provider parents of children under age of 5 who are at nutritional risk and who are below 185% of FPL
  • If you are currently receiving Medicaid, Temporary Assistance, or Food Assistance help, you are also eligible for WIC

How to get help:

National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP)

NSLP serves healthy, well-balanced, reduced-price or free meals to children in school. An extension of the NSLP, the School Breakfast Program provides free or low-cost breakfast to eligible students. 


Household income must fall at or below the limits of the federal income eligibility guidelines — $45,991 for a family of three. 

How to get help: 

Contact your child’s school to enroll.

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families in Ohio

There are multiple federally funded education programs and resources in Ohio:

Ohio Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start is a free federal preschool program for children aged 3 to 5 from low-income families. Early Head Start serves pregnant women and children under age 3. The programs focus on cognitive, social, and emotional development and prepare children for school. 


  • Children from birth to 5 
  • Meet federal poverty guidelines 
  • Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families receiving public assistance (TANF, SSI, etc.) are eligible regardless of income
  • Some programs accept kids with incomes above the Poverty Guidelines
  • Pregnant women can also receive prenatal and postpartum information, education, and services through Early Head Start

How to apply: 

Ohio BOLD Beginning! Childcare

Ohio’s BOLD Beginning Program provides resources and support to families and mothers to improve the lives of their children. Services include:

  • Prenatal care and programming
  • Parenting education and mentoring, 
  • Education and employment supports
  • Childcare


Households must have incomes at or below 150% of the FPL.

How to get help: 

Ohio Child Care Assistance

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) provides financial assistance for child care to eligible parents. Depending on your household size and income, you may be required to pay a portion of your child care costs.


  • Child has U.S. citizenship 
  • Ohio resident who is working, in school, in job training, or homeless
  • Recipient of Ohio Works First
  • Required by a case services plan to have protective childcare
  • Your household income is 142% or less than the FPL or your family has a special needs child and your income is at or below 150% of the FPL

How to get help:

More child care help

Education help for single moms in Ohio

If you’re a single mom who wants to further her education, here are some helpful resources: 

Get a GED in Ohio

If you are at least 18 years old in Ohio, you can take the GED test. You may also be able to take the test at 16 or 17 with special permission from the school district where you live. 

The GED test is broken into four exams on different subjects, which can be spaced out and taken at your own pace (though each individual exam has a time limit): 

  • Mathematical reasoning: 115 minutes
  • Reasoning through language arts: 150 minutes
  • Social studies: 70 minutes
  • Science: 90 minutes

You have two options for taking the test in Ohio: 

  • Online at-home test: $36 per module
  • In-person exams at a test center: $30 per module

Grants and scholarships in Ohio

The following educational grants and scholarships are available to single moms in Ohio: 

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

While Ohio offers limited student loan forgiveness programs, residents can still qualify for federal programs.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Ohio

FAFSA connects current and future college students with financial assistance to afford higher education. Federal and state grants are dependent upon individual income and determined by a college or university’s financial aid department. More information can be found on the OASFAA website.

Employment help for single moms in Ohio

Workforce programs in Ohio provide training and assist with employment:

OhioMeansJobs Centers

OhioMeansJobs helps Ohio residents with job search assistance, employee recruitment, job training, and more. Check out this directory of county centers.

Job Search Assistance at Ohio Public Libraries

Ohio is the first state in the nation to partner its job searching resources with its public library system. Library computers are equipped for, librarians are trained on the website’s interface, and local job listings are posted in the library. Find your local library with this directory.

American Job Centers

The American Job Centers offer employment and training services, career counseling, and job search assistance. 

How to get help: 

More employment help: 

Charity organizations in Ohio

There are a number of charitable organizations throughout Ohio that offer support to single moms:

The Salvation Army of Ohio

The Salvation Army wears many hats. Chapters assist with:

  • Food, shelter and clothing
  • Medication costs
  • Education and job training
  • Christmas presents
  • Rent and utility bills
  • Substance abuse rehabilitation
  • Youth services
  • Emergency disaster response


Each Salvation Army branch determines its own eligibility criteria for different programs.

How to get help: 

Find your branch of the Ohio Salvation Army

Catholic Charities of Ohio

Catholic Charities assists with:

  • Housing
  • Utility assistance
  • Food assistance
  • Health care assistance

There are seven chapters across Ohio: 

  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH 44102
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43604
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Youngstown, Youngstown, OH 44503
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Southeastern Ohio, Steubenville, OH 43952
  • Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, Cincinnati, OH 45237
  • Catholic Social Services Columbus, Columbus, OH 43215
  • Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, Dayton, OH 45402


Each Catholic Charities branch determines its own eligibility criteria for different programs. 

How to get help: 


Motherful is a community of single moms who support each other in every aspect of motherhood. The nonprofit organization, based in Gahanna, Ohio offers help to single moms in the state through clothing swaps, a food pantry, a community garden to grow food, game nights, hot dinner nights, advocacy, and more.

There is a waiting list to be accepted for membership, but non-members who are single mothers can visit the Motherful Pantry and Resource Center on Sundays from 10am-12pm at 254 Agler Road in Gahanna, Ohio.


  • Open to single mothers in Ohio 

How to get help:

United Way of Ohio

The United Way of Ohio connects people in need with local resources like: 

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Child care services
  • Housing
  • Health care
  • Support groups

How to get help: 

Not your state? Select yours here: founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, and National Jeweler editor, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. Her next book, The 50/50 Solution, is out March, 2024 with Sourcebooks. More about Emma's credentials.


I just want to say how thankful I am that I came across this. The past five years of my life has been spent trying to rebuild and figure out who I am. Yes I am a mom and yes it is OK that I decided to split my time with their father. It’s OK that my marriage didn’t work, BECAUSE I AM ENOUGH. It’s women like you that provide resources and support/information it just confirms I’m on the right path! So thank you once again.

I wish I could achieve what have done to help others. I can’t even help myself…. im so lost and have been self neglecting for over a year now since i lost everything. I really wanted to make a difference in the world but now I can barely get up for me. Thank God I have strength for my child, to fed, play with even when I want to cry bc he can’t fit clothes or shoes anymore and I don’t have the money to pay for anything. Im really want to give him to his father&his father gf bc maybe he’ll be better off with them. I just want to disappear bc everyone would be better without me. But part of me can’t do that bc I lost my mother in my early 20s and I still need her,I’m 36 now. No career, no dreams or hope for myself. But I do hope my child doesn’t end up like me. Jobless,hopeless, alone with no path of a better life. I just admire your achievements…I know your children are proud.

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