As part of our blog, we will be including EverWonder staff interviews. Today, you’ll meet Allison Ransom. She’s been a part of the EverWonder family since day one. Allison is a good friend of mine and Pam’s and an all-around amazing person. Her love and kindness are boundless.
Allison lives in the Douglas Park neighborhood of South Arlington with her son Deven, a 7th grader at TJMS, and her boyfriend John Stott. Allison and John were middle school sweethearts. On their first date back in 8th grade they went to see a movie- with Allison’s Mom… (Familiar, anyone?) After high school John and Allison lost touch until 2013 when Facebook (see, it’s good for some stuff) brought them back together.
Allison was kind enough to let me interview her during lunch today at Copperwood Grill- it was delicious, by the way.
Tell me about your family:
I was born in Oberlin, Ohio and spent the first eight years of my life living in a small town called Elyria. My Dad died in a motorcycle accident in 1979 and we moved to Arlington. It was me, my Mom Linda and my baby sister Adrienne. We moved to South 6th Street in Barcroft and I started school at Barcroft Elementary. I went to Kenmore Middle School and Wakefield High School.
Were there any teachers that helped shaped your life?
Oh, yes!! I don’t think teachers realize it, but it’s the little things they do that help to make you the person that you are. Ms. Milden and Ms. Wright at Barcroft saw things in my that I couldn’t see. They truly cared about me. Ms. Wright brought books to life for me. To this day, I can still hear her voice whenever I open a book.
Speaking of books, who are some of your favorite authors?
I love Maurice Sendak, Kevin Henkes and Judy Blume as far as children’s authors go. Super Fudge is one of my favorite books ever. Right now, I can’t get enough of Stephen King, Thomas Harris and the True Crime Series.
What was your first job?
When we moved to Barcroft, my Mom started watching neighborhood kids to make ends meet. When I was old enough, I started doing the same thing. There were always kids at our house and I was always the one parents would bring on vacations. It was a lot of fun. After high school, I worked at KB Toys at the Ballston Mall (remember when that was there?). In 1994 I started working for the Federal Government at the Naval District Child Development Center. I absolutely loved that job. I left in 2008 and went to work as a baker at Whole Foods. I didn’t last long in that position because I missed the sound of children. One day, when I went to pick up Deven from extended day at Randolph the supervisor there encouraged me to apply for a job with APS. I did, and soon after I began working in extended day at Patrick Henry Elementary. I love it there and have been at the school since 2009.
What do you love most about working at Patrick Henry?
In the mornings, I love getting the kids ready for their day so that they’ll have a good day at school. It’s so important to start them off on the right foot each morning. In the afternoons, I like helping with homework. It’s good to know what they’re learning about in school. I also like playing games and doing crafts with them. The best part about my job is seeing the kids grow and learn through the years.
What’s the best part about working with kids?
I love their honesty and the true joy they find in the simplest things.
What do you like best about working with EverWonder Camps?
I love the kids, the other staff and the relaxed atmosphere. There’s so much learning going on, yet it doesn’t feel like school. I also like how much outdoor time the kids get. That is so important and they don’t get enough at school.
If you won the lottery, what would you do with that money?
I would continue to work at Patrick Henry. I would donate a bunch of the money to the extended day budget to help children who couldn’t pay for the program. I would also do more painting, drawing and write my biography which I would call Ali Cat, the Girl with Nine Lives.
What are your hobbies?
Painting, drawing, photography, reading and cooking.
Allison has taught me so much about life. She’s been through some really difficult times and continues to pick herself up and start over again and again. I asked, and she wants me to share her story. In 1996, Allison’s Mom Linda suffered a freak accident. Her nightgown caught on fire and she was burned all over her body. Linda received a blood transfusion while being treated at the hospital. Unfortunately, that blood was tainted with the AIDS virus. Sadly, Linda died about five years later. Allison went through a period of deep depression after losing her Mom. (I lost my Mom in 2011, so I know what that’s like and how much it hurts. Allison has helped me through so much of my grief and for that I am so thankful).
In 2001 the skies brightened and Allison gave birth to her son Deven, the single happiest moment in her life. She was a single mom from day one and provided for him all on her own. Allison is an incredible mom and when I say incredible, I mean incredible. Deven is a wonderful young man and it’s largely due to his Mom.
In 2011, tragedy struck again and Allison and Deven found themselves homeless. They were able to move into the Doorways Freddie Mac Family Home. They lived there for 121 days . Allison then became a part of the Doorways Home Start Program. She and Deven moved into their own apartment where they continued to receive wrap-around services from Doorways. About six months ago, Allison graduated from that program and continues to do very well. She is so grateful for Doorways.
Allison told me that for the first time in a really long time she is completely happy with work, home, friends and her family. If we could all be so resilient the world would certainly be a better place.
We love you, Allison. You are an inspiration to us all!