Okay, here’s another “hard” one – reliable transportation.

First off, let me admit that I have severe anxiety when it comes to driving. So much so that I got my permit but was never able to pass the driver’s test. Now (maybe in part due to this anxiety), I’m not allowed to drive (yes, my physician stated it was safer if I don’t).

However, when I had my babies, I bought a car. I thought maybe I could learn to drive it for them. My anxiety prevented that from happening, but that started my journey into needing reliable transportation.

Sure, Medicaid will pay to go to/from the doctor’s office. Some states, some cities, have a job-transport program where you pay $2.50-$5 (each way) to get a ride to work.

When I lived in Tennessee, I met MUMs. They offered transportation – and they had licensed, insured drivers who volunteered.

We want a similar program here. Need to take your child to daycare before heading in to work? No problem. Need to have a trusted adult transport your child from school to the daycare center? (We’re talking that one over – do we want to be responsible for your child if you’re not with him/her?) Need to get to work?


What are your thoughts? Would this be helpful or cause more problems? What about insurance needs? Would we need to have a contract for clients to sign stating that you would not hold us liable for any accidents? Tell us what you think about this possible program.

***No child will be transported without a proper car seat or restraint system.***

Child-care or Day Care Solutions

Day care. One of my own primary complaints, and one that we’ve heard often from clients and those we’ve interviewed, is that in order to get a job when one has children, one must have child care. But in order to obtain and keep child care, one must have a job. It’s a catch-22 situation. A “between a rock and a hard place” setup, and one that we hope to help solve.

For $1 dollar a day (up to 4 hours) or 1 hour of time in work (cleaning, helping the teachers with prep-work, etc.), clients may drop off their children to attend job training, interviews, or other job-seek programs. There is no maximum day, week, or number of months that the clients can utilize this service. Clients must provide proof of activity to participate in this program.

After the job is secure, clients may choose to use another daycare facility. For the first 6 weeks, in order to save up the deposit, first week, or other required fees, employed clients may use our daycare for free. Absolutely free, as long as employment has been verified, attendance is tracked, and a center has been contacted to reserve the child(ren)’s place in care.

Clients who choose employment with LYDIA, Inc.’s Book Lounge and Cafe may receive free daycare (only during the hours they are scheduled to work).


Child care at cost: considering participating in the state’s approved-daycare program. Not certain yet.

Logistics for sickrooms, special needs children, and other issues have not yet been addressed nor resolved.


These are just some of the childcare ideas we’ve come up with at this point. Do you have any suggestions for us?

Why LYDIA, pt 3

Thank you for your interest in LYDIA, Inc.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a day of green – in many ways……

Many people have asked me what my vision is for LYDIA. I want to post a brief overview of the current programs (which you can find out more about by visiting our website and going to “Programs we Offer”)….But I’ll expand on the programs in detail in future posts.

Firstly, our job-training program. We want to have a bookstore and cafe – why a retail store? Why a bookstore? Honestly? Because I love reading. I’ll talk more about this store at length in our post on the Book Lounge. Why a cafe? Because everyone has to eat and I love to cook. There’s some good news in store for our clients, too. Partnerships with local area businesses, possibly including a grant match type situation.

Our job-skills training will match mentors with clients who want to learn hands-on trade and/or encourage clients who attend trade or vocation school.

Our child-care solutions will approach child-care needs in a 3-fold approach.

Transportation will be volunteer-based/driven.

Youth programs will include tutoring, drama teams, and band nights.

There is, of course, so much more we want to do and offer. But we want to hear from you, our community.




Why LYDIA? pt 2

In each state we’ve lived, we’ve had a bit of LYDIA going. But when I learned about Santa Fe, I knew that this would be our home. We moved out here in 2013 – it was our best decision yet.

sun over Santa Fe

In 2013, I decided to volunteer at Care Net, our local crisis pregnancy and parent education organization. Check them out, over on Fifth Street. (Don’t tell them I sent you!) While at Care Net, I met teen parents, young couples, struggling parents, pregnant moms with multiple children, those who were having their second babies…..and they all had more than their pregnancies in common. Some had no jobs. Some had jobs and were still fighting to make ends meet. Some of the partner parents were also struggling – making minimum wage, talking about giving up on their plans and dreams….because any money at least means they can provide for their families.

I left Care Net late 2014, but had an official separation in 2015 due to medical reasons. I also filed LYDIA, Inc. (Summit International) with the State in Spring of 2015. We made our announcement then – we’re legitimately in New Mexico!

nm state seal

With much discussion between us and the Board of Directors, we have decided to offer the following current programs:

Life coaching – Emma Shows and Dr. Michael Commini are both certified life coaches. David Commini is a peer mentor, having undergone training through the U.S. Army. This program includes “brining balance to the mind, body, soul, and spirit” by addressing emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental needs. Includes: self-hypnosis and meditation instruction. ***Life coaching is NOT therapy.***

Life skills classes – workshops, blog articles, video posts, and more to come.

Business apparel clothes closet – which we originally called our Dress for Success program in 2007.

Non-medical case management – helping families who receive services from local area organizations connect with other programs, maintain records, provide weekly accountability, and more.


In part three, we’ll discuss future and potential programs.



Why LYDIA, Inc.

I’ve had many questions about “why LYDIA, Inc.?” – “what is the idea?”, “what is the concept?”, “what is the reality?”, “what do we want?”, and “why?”, “why?”, “why?”, “why?”, “why?”


Original Logo

In 2002 I was the happiest I could ever be. I got married. In 2003, I got pregnant and gave birth to one of the world’s most beautiful people. In 2004, I found myself separated, and in 2006, my divorce was finalized.

*not my belly

*not my belly

In 2005, I lived in a small apartment with my baby, and joined a peer mentorship program, where I worked with a social worker to determine the true needs, listen to the stories, and begin the idea of LYDIA, Inc. From there, I decided to go back to school. I wanted to study business management. Since I lived in the family dorms, we tried to work together to have a women’s tea/young moms support group.

Wasn't she cute?!?!?

Wasn’t she cute?!?!?

I found myself pregnant in 2006, after having what some in the church would call “a moment of weakness” – I met a man, who saw that I was hurting because I wanted to save my marriage and that my ex-husband wouldn’t consider it. This man helped me begin to heal in his own way, and gave me my second daughter.
That pregnancy was rough – I found myself on bedrest. I couldn’t pay my rent because I couldn’t keep a job….I would have contractions at the worst times, when carrying food, standing on my feet, sitting down. I had my daughter at 32 weeks – I was approximately 8 months pregnant (I say approximately, because the EDD and the Adjusted Due Date differ depending on the organization or medical community).
After she was born, I found myself homeless due to a series of unfortunate events. I went to stay in a women’s shelter until I could find a job and somewhere to live. It was at this time that I met people from Against the Grain in Nashville, TN.

2#15 oz at birth. 16.5" long

2#15 oz at birth. 16.5″ long

From the women’s shelter, we went to live in the projects – but it was a much nicer neighborhood than I was told to expect. And it was at this time that I met people from Maury United Methodist Services (I’m not sure what they’re called now).
In 2007, within the projects, I met struggling grandparents raising their grandbabies, I met moms who were with their men for the check, I met families who struggled to make ends meet and were appreciative of the roof over their heads.
I opened my home, and my doors, to the children in the neighborhood. It wasn’t odd to find anywhere from 3-10 children in my yard or my house at any given time.
But, because my pregnancy had been so hard, and my baby so sickly, I wasn’t able to work. I reached out to DCS (department of children services) and asked for help. Because of them, I found family services, a local non-profit to where we were, and began discussing various needs and solutions with them.
We began to flesh LYDIA out and see what we could potentially do with it. It still wasn’t “just right” – and may never be, but it is becoming what it needs to be.



We’re going to jump forward several years in part two, so stay tuned!

A Support Your Community Activity

Last minute notice*:

This Saturday, July 30th, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., we are gathering school supplies for recipients of St. Elizabeth Shelter’s Casa Familia. Donations can be dropped off at LYDIA, Inc.

The program manager has requested that we provide clean/brand new underwear, water bottles, backpacks/bookbags, and uniform shirts – for anyone who is able to do so. Otherwise, our request is that when you are out shopping, please pick up one or two extra items and drop them off with us. If your children need it, so do the children at St. Elizabeth Shelter’s Casa Familia. Continue Reading →

How Can We Help?

Welcome back, dear readers. We are still working on getting our website up and running, developing our programs, and establishing community here in Santa Fe.

girl writing in diary
In developing our programs, our director, Emma Shows, is training as a life coach. Our marketing director, David Commini, is learning more about marketing and pushing our organization through multiple social media platforms (Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more). As part of our learning, we were asked what our system of services and delivery might look like to our clients.
So, here they are in paragraph form. Continue Reading →