JEFFERSONVILLE — Myla Mack is like most young women trying to take the next steps toward prosperity in life.
After high school, she enrolled in college with aspirations of working in the dental field. But plans don't always go exactly how one envisions them, and such was the case for Mack.
"I got pregnant, and that's when I had [my daughter]," Mack said. "I ended up leaving college."
The pressure of figuring out how to balance her goals with the immediate needs of her daughter, Ameira, put Mack, 20, in a bind. To make matters worse, she eventually came to the realization that she was going to have to do it entirely by herself.
"I was with her dad until I was about five months pregnant, and then he just left," she said. "He just didn't talk to me anymore and didn't want to be a part of her life. I've been doing this alone with her."
Circumstances have been tough for Mack and the 13-month-old Ameira.
"I'm struggling," Mack said. "Especially my mental health. It's really hard."
The pair recently lost their home, and have since moved in with Mack's father.
Finding a job has been difficult, too, as many employers have not been willing to work around the necessary schedule needed to care for a child as young as Ameira.
Mack, however, has no intentions of giving up, and she has pushed hard to make sure everything she has goes toward her daughter, who loves anything and everything animal related.
Up until now, Mack has tried her hand at a number of odd jobs, until recently landing a job at UPS where she starts this month. To help with the transition, Mack's father will watch over Ameira during the night shift.
Once she gets back on her feet, Mack wants to start going to school again. Her ambitions, though, have changed a bit. Inspired by the team that has worked with her and her daughter through these trying times, she now wants to go into social work.
"I got to see what [my social worker] does and how she's such a positive impact in my life," Mack said. "I barely have that [elsewhere]. I want to be able to do the same for somebody else."
As she fights to get her ducks in a row, Mack said there are a few items that Ameira will need for the upcoming cold weather. First and foremost is winter clothes. Other necessities include things like diapers, baby wipes and sippy cups.
Ameira's favorite movies are the "Cat in the Hat" and "Open Season." Toys and play sets related to those or Barbies will allow her to expand her imagination during playtime.
What Mack is more focused on, though, is ensuring that she is teaching her daughter as much as possible at a young age. That's why she's also asking for learning tools, like Leapfrog, for Ameira.
Eventually, Mack plans to get her own place to live. But it will be much more than that. She wants to truly make it a home for her daughter, not just a place to sleep, with decorations that surround Ameira with warmth and comfort.
After all, that's all Mack wants — happiness for her baby.
"What I want is for her to be happy," Mack said. "That's literally all. I feel like I'm doing the best that I can."
HOW TO HELP
The best way to assist families is with a financial donation, with which items will be purchased. With each of the profiles of the three families being featured Nov. 27, 29 and 30 in the News and Tribune and at newsandtribune.com will be a list of items needed. Donations can be dropped off at New Hope, 1302 Wall St., Jeffersonville. Checks can be mailed to New Hope to that address. Call 812-288-4304 with questions. Those wishing to donate with a credit card should go online to newhopeservices.org/donate.html and designate it as a Wish Book donation. The deadline to donate is Dec. 13.
Play set (Barbie, kitchen, cars)
Movies (Disney, Cat in the Hat)
NAME: AMEIRA MACK
AGE: 13 MONTHS
PANT SIZE: 6-9, 12 MO., 9 MO.
SHIRT SIZE: 6-9. 12 MO., 9 MO.
SHOE SIZE: 3
NAME: MYLA MACK
PANT SIZE: 7
SHIRT SIZE: MEDIUM
SHOE SIZE: 8