Unsung Hero #6 – Rayshawna Allen, Housekeeper at Anne Arundel Hall

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“I love it, I love to clean, it’s something I like to. I don’t like going home smelling like food, but I made employee of the month in 2014! My picture is still up there in North Campus Diner. I left my mark…I love these kids, I do. One time, Valentine’s Day came, and they gave me a card, it was so sweet. Most of the students wrote down how they felt about me and everything and it was very appreciative. And they gave me some chocolate. I really appreciated that. One of the professors, she gave me a gift card too. It felt good, because sometimes when we work, we don’t feel appreciated about how our work is done and how we did. But once the kids did that for me, I felt so good…One time, I would speak and the kid wouldn’t speak back, but as I continued to speak to him, and as I continued, he finally answers me now. I’ll be like “Good morning!” and he’ll be like “Good morning, Ray!” So now I get it every day”

“My daughters are 9 and 6 years old. They’ll be 10 and 7 this year. One of them wants to go to Penn State. As they get older, things change, but I’m with whatever they want to do. I love my girls. I work for them, I do everything for them. Like now, I go to school online here. I do everything for my girls. I am nothing without them…My greatest accomplishment [is] being the best mom. I don’t have a car, but my kids get to go wherever. Me, living alone, taking care of two kids…and I do it on the regular and I get things done? I’m excited, I really am. I’m proud of myself.”

“My greatest struggle, was starting over from the beginning with two kids, with no help. so that was like the biggest ever. Because I got to a point in my life like “How am I gonna do this?” I kept questioning myself “Why am I not doing it? Just stop talking about it, just get up and do it.” I kept talking and talking and talking to myself like “You can do it, you can do it, you can do it!” and then I just got up one day and I did it and I never went back down. I kept myself up, and now look at me! I’m in school, that’s an extra higher level. No more down, no more…My dream is always to give me and my kids a peaceful place, as in a house for me and my kids. I always dreamt of that. I always travel you know. The biggest place I ever took them was the Disney cruise, we went to the Bahamas. It’s providing for them, that is the only thing on my mind. It’s my kids. I love them I really do. I love my girls, this is all for them…No matter what age, no matter if you’re a single mom. You can always accomplish your goals, no matter what. Nothing should stop you, keep moving forward, count your blessings and keep the faith.”

“I have become an independent person. I have become that. You know…once you have kids, you’re not a kid no more. Your time is up. It’s all about you trying to take care of this child, and that was my problem, like, how was I gonna do this on my own? I have my days where I’m tired. We get up at 4:30 every morning and I gotta get them ready before 5:30 and then hurry up to the train station. But I tend to make it, never late…I made it, I can say that. By the strength of God, I made it. And I’m proud of myself. Especially to be my age, with two kids…so, I thank God every day and I hope he continues to bless us because my next step is trying to find a better spot for my kids.”

We would like to thank our sixth Unsung Hero, Rayshawna Allen for sharing her story, advice, and encouragement for the Terps! The Unsung Heroes of UMD are always working hard for the community, and a quick word of appreciation is all it takes to make their day.

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