Our year-long "A Tale of Two Cities" series concludes with a follow-up on a single mother from the Bronx who goes the extra mile every single day to give her children a better life. NY1’s Erin Clarke filed the following report.
When we first met Jasmine Reed in September, she and her two boys were starting their day at 5:30 in the morning. Reed's days end more than 16 hours later.
At 5:15 pm, she's rushing from her job at Carnegie Hall to her boys' school in Harlem.
"I leave 15 minutes early to make sure that I'm at their school before six o’clock,” she said.
Because if she doesn't there's a fee, a penalty that Reed can't afford, especially during this time of year. Her sons' birthdays are two weeks apart in October and November.
"You have the holidays right after that. Then it's her grandma's birthday is coming up. She also has her little brother, who's birthday is like two days after little Ricky's,” said her mother Leola Reed.
On top of that, Reed is going to school, hoping to parlay her passion for doing hair into a full-time business. Organizing parties didn't exactly help with her studies.
"It was a distraction and actually having them home on the weekends is a little bit difficult to focus in getting the school work done,” Reed said. “It's a lot of work. I have to cram the entire semester in this next two and a half weeks.”
So on school nights, Nana helps out. Reed's mom picks up the boys from school, helps with homework, studying, feeds and puts them to bed. Reed's mother says when she was younger she didn't have the support to allow her to take evening classes, so she is happy to provide that to her daughter.
"She can fulfill her dreams and her ambitions without having to worry about her children,” said her mother.
By the time Reed gets in, usually between 8:30 and 9 p.m., she has some quiet time to eat, do a bit of studying if she's not too tired and then prepare to do it all over again.
But she says the long day is well worth it.
"I feel a sense of accomplishment. I've come far, but I haven't done it by myself. I have people that believe and support me,” said Reed.
Because where she's at now is just a stepping stone.