DALLAS, TX -Fans attending the HP Byron Nelson Golf Championship know that their money goes toward charity, provided by the salesmanship club of Dallas. But what they rarely get to see is how their money works.

Verlyncia Alvarado knows first hand how the Salesmanship Club works. She's a 21 year single mother who discovered the Youth and family centers provided by them.

She was a teenager when her search for a better life led her to their services. Therapy has given her hope and a mother s day to be thankful for.

I was about sixteen years old and maybe four of five months pregnant with Jada, says Verlyncia. I knew that I needed to make a change in my life. I knew that I needed some type of help or just some type of relief of getting ready to be a teen parent.

That's when Verlyncia met Ann Reese, Director of family therapy for the Salesmanship Club youth and family centers.

One of the things that I remember most about her is her resilience, says Reese. This dynamic, bright, resilient sixteen year old girl who was four or five months pregnant with, had very little support in the community. She sought out therapy for herself in an effort to become the best mother she could be. She was afraid, but she stood up to that fear and got into therapy to look how she could become the best mother she could be.

You can be forced but if you don't want it, then it's not going to happen for you, says Verlyncia. I wanted it. I wanted to grow. I wanted to be a better person. I wanted to find out why life goes the way that it goes. I think that's all part of me wanting to be a social worker.

Verlyncia spends as much time as she can with her four year daughter Jada. Mothers day is really a time where, it's just me and Jada. It's always been just me and Jada, nothing really special as far as fancy and going out, she says. This mother s day I m going to enjoy it because I have a lot of friends that area also single parents and we're all going to get together at my house after church.

While going through therapy she discovered the Salesmanship Club had even more to offer. She applied for and received a scholarship to attend college.

We're doing work in ways that no other groups are and serving these kids and families with spot on treatment that we are very proud of the work we do, says Salesmanship Club President Scott Ragland.

Next weekend, Verlyncia will graduate with honors from El Centro College where two years ago, she formed a single parents club which she is president of today. When she's not at El Centro, she's taking extra courses at Mountain View College

On this day, she was giving a presentation to her class about her family tree. I love this family tree because my dad is Mexican. So I got a chance to find out more about my dad's side of the family.

Mountain View College is where she is taking an anthropology class which helped her discover more about her family tree.

The most important thing that I learned when I was doing my family tree is that going back over where with my mother and her mother and this set here my immediate family, I found out some pretty disturbing news, she says. I found out that all of my grandmother s brothers are alcoholic. So that was a 'wow' for me.

She's very hard working and that's one of the things for me that's admirable of her is the fact that she does have a child, says her Gloria Garcia her teacher at Mountain View College. With her having that additional pressure it makes it more outstanding.

Verlyncia also has to deal with breathing issues associated with asthma. She had surgery a few months ago but it hasn't slowed her down.

I think being a student and a single mom, I have to cherish every moment I get to spend with Jada, Verlyncia says. I'm learning how to value that time. I'm learning how to spend the time wisely. I'm learning how to make Jada my best friend.

I believe that I m blessed beyond measurements and so I m really thankful for that. I'm appreciative of all the help that I received, I don't take anything for granted, and I m just excited. Now I think I m ready. I'm ready to do what God wants me to do. I'm ready to do what I love to and that's to help other people.

The next chapter in her life will begin this fall when she begins social work studies at UT Arlington. Her goal is to come back to the salesmanship club as an intern. Mother s day is a special day in her life.

It is, she says. That makes me a mother for four years now. Mother s day is around my birthday, so that's another reason for me to celebrate. Every year around mother s day, I get excited because I get to say wow, I made it another year.
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