For these young sisters, a period of family, love, and sacrifice

Sisters Jaelynn and Jennifer Ashley Ciballos couldn’t be more different. Yet they work together to bring their family a much-needed sense of financial stability – and show the value of prioritizing the people who matter most. Episode 6 of “Stronger.”

The Sisters

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Photo: Ann Hermes, photo illustration: Jacob Turcotte

During the pandemic, much of the media’s attention was on the millions of women who left the workforce. But college student Jennifer Ashley Ciballos and her sister Jaelynn, a high school senior, faced a different problem: having to work to keep their multigenerational household afloat. 

They’re part of a demographic that often goes unnoticed: young people from low-income families, often with immigrant parents, whose wages are essential to their households. When the Ciballos sisters’ father lost his job at the start of the pandemic, they juggled their studies with long hours at low-wage jobs to pay the rent and other bills. 

But both sisters also dream of getting college degrees someday, so that they can change their family’s financial trajectory for good. 

“My parents always told me that you only have one family. You have to care for them,” says Jennifer Ashley, who is studying to be a nurse. “I see how my parents are struggling right now and I just want to get them out of it.” 

In this final episode of our podcast “Stronger,” the Ciballos sisters show the lengths we go to support the people we love – even if it means putting our own dreams on hold.

Episode transcript

[Music]

Jennifer Ashley Ciballos: My mom, she works as a supervisor in a kind of like a child care slash preschool type of thing. My dad also worked for a charter school, as the cafeteria manager. But then he got laid off because of the pandemic.

Jessica Mendoza: When did that happen? 

Jennifer Ashley: Literally like one month after the lockdown. My mom and dad pulled me to the side and told me that my dad was going to lose his job and that we had to like, figure out how to get money. 

[Music]

Mendoza: Jennifer Ashley Ciballos is 21 years old. She’s a college student on a nursing track. The oldest of four. And she lives with her siblings, parents, and grandparents in a three-bedroom apartment in east Las Vegas.

Samantha Laine Perfas: In this series so far, we’ve talked to women who’ve either lost or left their jobs during the pandemic. Or – in the case of one teacher – thought about quitting.

Mendoza: But today we’re looking at a different issue: Instead of losing jobs, Jennifer Ashley and her younger sister, Jaelynn, had to start working – a lot – to help their family get by. 

Jennifer Ashley: It got real when my parents were saying that we couldn’t pay for our car. That’s how I knew, like the pandemic was really going to shift my priorities as a student and as a daughter because we could not even make ends meet. Like we were not even close to it anymore.

Laine Perfas: We’ve been saying that even though the U.S. is in recovery mode, the pandemic is leaving plenty for us to work through as a society. That’s especially true when it comes to young people like Jennifer Ashley and Jaelynn.

Mendoza: For more than a year, both women have had to manage school, taking care of their younger siblings, and working almost full time. And when you’re balancing paying for bills now versus prioritizing your future –

Laine Perfas: – a future that, hopefully, includes a college degree and a professional job, so that you can give your family a better life? It’s a lot to carry. 

Mendoza: How do you do all that and still hang on to the person you’re trying to become?  

[Theme music]

Laine Perfas: I’m Samantha Laine Perfas. 

Mendoza: And I’m Jessica Mendoza. This is “Stronger.”

Laine Perfas: What women lost to the pandemic, and how they’re winning it back. 

[Theme music]

Mendoza: Today (our final episode!): The Sisters.

[Music]

Laine Perfas: So we mentioned it before: The Ciballoses have a pretty big family. 

Jennifer Ashley: We’re siblings of four. So there – it goes me, who’s 21, then Jaelynn who’s 17, Janine who is 8, and then Miles who is 2. 

Mendoza: Their parents, Jeffrey and Maria, are from the Philippines. Jennifer Ashley was actually born there. 

Laine Perfas: Jeff and Maria worked throughout Jennifer Ashley’s childhood. But neither of them finished college. And it was often tough to keep the family afloat. 

Jennifer Ashley: Income and money issues are always a topic in our family, unfortunately. 

Mendoza: As the oldest, Jennifer Ashley saw firsthand how it affected the family dynamic. For instance, to afford going to UNLV –

Laine Perfas: – that’s the University of Nevada Las Vegas –

Mendoza: – she has to rely on a bunch of different scholarships and grants. Every semester, Jennifer Ashley gets back whatever doesn’t get used for tuition and fees. This refund check is pretty common for students on financial aid. But for Jennifer Ashley –

Jennifer Ashley: I would have to give half of that to my parents just to make ends meet.

[Music]

Laine Perfas: There were other ways it was clear that they weren’t exactly rolling in dough. Like: Jennifer Ashley and her sister Jaelynn always had to split chores and other duties with their parents. 

Jennifer Ashley: When my mom would get home, she would go straight to cooking. My dad would also clean the entire house, he would do laundry. And then as for my grandparents, they mainly came to the States to help take care of Miles and Janine.

Mendoza: But as their grandparents got older and their health declined, a lot of the work wound up with Jaelynn, who was in high school and usually home earlier than Jennifer Ashley or their parents. 

Jaelynn Ciballos: I had to take the responsibility of kind of being the second mom. Maybe that’s why I like when I grow up, I low-key don’t want to have kids for a hot minute because I felt like I just ended up raising my little sister and my little brother. 

[Music]

Laine Perfas: But for all of that, the two sisters felt that pre-pandemic, their lives were pretty normal.

Jaelynn: I had a lot of time to do after school activities. I was in sports. I had so much time to study. I had a lot of free time where I could kind of relax and stuff. It sounds pretty boring, but yeah. 

Mendoza: And the two of them are really close, even though they’re four years apart.

Jennifer Ashley: I think it’s due to the fact that we’ve shared a room since birth. 

Mendoza: That’s Jennifer Ashley again. (And just a heads up – she called us from her car in one of our Zoom conversations. So the tape might sound different at times.)

Jennifer Ashley: We’ve never had our own rooms. And it’s like a bittersweet thing because we never get privacy. But because of that, we’re literally like stuck at the hip. 

Laine Perfas: At the same time, Jaelynn and Jennifer Ashley are also kind of opposites. If you have a sister – and I have two – it can be really funny how different you are from each other. And at least in my case, the younger sisters always seem to be way cooler. 

Mendoza: Jaelynn, how would you describe your sister’s style and vice versa? 

Jaelynn: I don’t know, she’s going to kill me. She has to dress professional, so it’s like her color palette is like browns and neutrals, you know. I don’t know! Like, I can’t say teacher vibes. Because it’s really not teacher vibes. 

Jennifer Ashley: It’s OK. It’s OK. You can say I dress like a teacher. [laughter]

Jaelynn: I don’t know how she would describe my style. 

Jennifer Ashley: I think Jaelynn’s style is very much, “hip” in what’s happening right now. Like that’s very much her style. It’s OK, Jaelynn. You can say – at one point she said I dress like an English teacher and that’s fine with me. That’s how I like to dress, is very business casual, clean cut and Jaelynn’s over here wearing crop tops, ripped jeans and things like that. She dyes her hair every like two weeks.

Mendoza: Yeah, I don’t know about you, Sam, but I felt very ancient and uncool when we met Jaelynn. She was rocking blonde hair with pink and blue highlights. Where for me, a little lipstick is like, “Watch out, she’s getting fancy!”

Laine Perfas: Yeah, no, I definitely vibed more with Jennifer Ashley’s style. My clothes are, let’s just say “neutral, earthy tones.” And when I bought my first car in college, I was so excited to show my sister, and she literally said, “Um, that’s like, a teacher car.” Womp womp. 

Mendoza: It’s like, What’s wrong with being like a teacher? I know some very cool teachers, personally. 

[Music]

Mendoza: Anyway, that was their life. Normal.

Laine Perfas: But after their dad, Jeff, lost his job, the sisters began to really feel the pressures of being in a family in survival mode. Pre-pandemic, Jennifer Ashley had been working at a nonprofit called Leaders In Training, or LIT. The group helps first-generation college students like her build leadership skills. Jennifer Ashley participated when she was in high school.

Mendoza: After Jeff got laid off, she began putting in more time at the office. 

Jennifer Ashley: I barely make $10 an hour, so I try to scavenge as many hours as I can. 

Mendoza: And it didn’t take long for Jaelynn to want to pitch in too, even though she was only 16 at the time. She found work as a barista at a coffee shop chain called Dutch Bros. 

Jaelynn: I applied to this coffee shop in late June. I got an interview in July and that’s when I started working. I don’t make a lot either. I only make nine an hour.

Laine Perfas: But together, what they made really helped cover the family expenses. 

Jennifer Ashley: When bills arise, usually my mom and dad will shoulder it, like they figure it out.

Mendoza: That’s Jennifer Ashley again. 

Jennifer Ashley: If we are short, they’ll bring it to us and be like, “Two hundred from Jaelynn, two hundred from me.” I also shoulder the cable and Internet bill. And then on certain months, me, Jaelynn, and my mom, we split the phone bill. 

[Music]

Laine Perfas: At first, it doesn’t seem too overwhelming. After all, it’s true that a lot of young people in the U.S. help their families pay the bills – and this was the case way before the pandemic. 

Molly Scott: Young people are a vital part of their family economy in one way or another when there’s not enough at home. 

Mendoza: Molly Scott is a researcher at the Center for Income and Benefits at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. She’s done a bunch of work on young people’s economic contributions to their families. 

Scott: And that can mean that the young person actually holds a job, or it can mean that they’re taking on all of the other family responsibilities so that their parents can work two or three jobs to be able to pay the bills, right? 

Laine Perfas: That on its own is an issue. But for families in those situations, it makes existing inequalities worse. 

Elise Gould: You think about two different students in the economy, one who has to work a job maybe 30, 40 hours a week. They need that money. Compare that with somebody who can devote their entire being to being a full time student.  

Laine Perfas: That’s Elise Gould, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, also in D.C. 

Gould: Those sacrifices have a cost on their ability to focus, their ability to be fully present in – in all of their activities.

[Music]

Mendoza: We got a real sense of what that was like for Jennifer Ashley and Jaelynn when we went to see them in late April. It was a lot. 

Laine Perfas: Their family’s apartment, for one thing, is a busy place. There always seemed to be grandparents or little siblings or pets everywhere. (Their dad keeps four birds in the house.)

Jennifer Ashley: And the birds. [bird squawks LOUDLY]

Laine Perfas: The birds! 

Mendoza: Can you introduce us to them? 

Laine Perfas: Yeah, which one is which?

Jennifer Ashley: Yeah, the one that looks like it’s kind of bald is Grover and then the one I always like barks and sounds really loud is Mango. 

Maria Ciballos: And there’s another two in there. 

Laine Perfas: They’re so pretty!

Maria: Romeo and Juliet.

Laine Perfas: It took some time to find a quiet enough place for us to record – their parents’ room, where the birds were only kind of audible.

Mendoza: When we were all more or less settled in, we asked each of them to tell us what a typical day was like for them during the pandemic. For Jennifer Ashley – 

[Music]

Jennifer Ashley: Classes really start at 8:30. So I’ll wake up at 7:30 just to make sure that, you know, I’m awake and I’ll have breakfast. 

Laine Perfas: She’d be in class until about 10:30 or so. And then she’d check in with her parents and Jaelynn about their schedules – 

Jennifer Ashley: So I can kind of coordinate if I can take my car that day. Most times I can’t. 

Mendoza: The Ciballoses have only one working car, and it’s a daily struggle to figure out who gets to use it when. So a coworker who lives nearby will usually just give Jennifer Ashley a ride to work. 

Jennifer Ashley: She’ll end up texting me like, “Hey, do you want to go to the office at 11? I’ll pick you up.” 

[Music]

Laine Perfas: Jennifer Ashley’s official title at LIT is program manager. She both handles administrative stuff and works with students in the program.

Jennifer Ashley: So I’ll be typing emails, I’ll be texting parents and students if they’re doing OK in school, if they need any resources. We’ll do a lot of printing and things like that. I’m also in charge of events.

Jennifer Ashley (ambient): Hello? OK, so you want those two to be on one-pagers and it’s front to back. Correct?

[Ambient sound printer]

Mendoza: And that would be her whole afternoon. She’d leave work around 5 or 6, be home by 6:30 – 

Jennifer Ashley: And that’s basically when I do my homework.  So I’ll tell my parents, “Don’t knock, don’t let Miles yell, you know, make sure the birds are quiet. And during that time I’m really zoned in. So by the time I look up and finish my work, it’s already, I think, 11.

Laine Perfas: That’s around the time that Jaelynn gets off from work. 

Mendoza: Which, even though she’s younger and in high school, Jaelynn’s days are at least as hectic as her sister’s. 

[Music]

Jaelynn: So usually I wake up at six just because I feel like if I don’t wake up early, I will not wake up.

Laine Perfas: She grabs some breakfast, gets ready, and then she leaves for school at 8:15. She and her dad will drop off her little sister Janine – 

Jaelynn: And I’m at school from like 8:30 to 3 o’clock. 

Mendoza: School is what you’d expect. Afterwards, their dad does the whole thing in reverse: he picks Jaelynn up from school, they go get Janine – 

Jaelynn: And then I go home to change ‘cause my work starts at 5, usually. And so I get dressed and then I eat and then I literally leave. 

Mendoza: At the coffee shop, Jaelynn works a six-hour shift.

Jaelynn: Either taking orders and making drinks, or like stocking, so that we have enough items to make the drinks.

[Ambient of Dutch Bros. coffee shop]

Jaelynn: Hey! Sorry, I’m like at work. 

Laine Perfas: I know, no, it’s OK!

Jaelynn: How are you guys today?  

Mendoza / Laine Perfas: We’re pretty good. How are you? 

Laine Perfas: It sounds busy – because it is. 

Jaelynn: Like, right now, I’m like filling up sauce bottles but then sometimes like I’ll be making drinks. But pretty much this is like a typical day.  

Laine Perfas: It just feels like nonstop.  

Jaelynn: Yeah but I feel like, there’s – it’s really fun though because I’m right now I’m working with my friends and stuff like that.

Laine Perfas: The Dutch Bros where she works is kind of like this big kiosk. It has a drive-through window, for cars, and also another window where people could literally walk up to order. Which was what we did. 

Jaelynn: Did you guys want to get a drink for today? 

Mendoza: Definitely. 

Laine Perfas: Yes.

Jaelynn: Now I’m treating you guys like you’re my customers.

Laine Perfas: We are your customers. That’s our one goal today… 

Mendoza: It was a Sunday when we went to see her at work. But Jaelynn’s weeknight shift usually starts at 5 p.m. and ends at 11. Which makes for super long days. 

Laine Perfas: And after a while, the pace of everything would really catch up with her. With both of them. After all, they were doing all this – hybrid classes and going to work – during the pandemic. 

Jaelynn: There was this one day where I went home at like 3:30 and I had this assignment due at 4 p.m. Then I had work at 4:30. I had 30 minutes to do like, my entire assignment and turn it in. But yeah, I think also like with my sister working, we kind of like live this same life, we can bond over that. We’ll both be crying because work and school is insane. 

[Music]

Mendoza: Jennifer Ashley, for her part, also really internalizes her role as the oldest. And that adds an extra layer of conflict for her.  

Jennifer Ashley: I always think about how my friends are 21 and they’re going out. They’re like doing all these things, they’re taking trips – obviously social distancing, we’re still in a pandemic. But they were doing all these things to figure out who they are. And I was stuck thinking about, “When is my next paycheck so I can feed my family?”

But on the bright side, though, no matter how bad I feel about how like I’m struggling with the idea of falling behind. There’s days where like – when I first took my whole family out to a buffet and I paid for it. The look on their faces, because they’ve never done that before? I don’t know, it was very – I enjoyed that. So that made everything that I did worth it.

[Music]

Mendoza: And that’s the heart of the issue for the Ciballos sisters. Jaelynn is a rising senior looking ahead to college. And Jennifer Ashley is trying to make grades good enough to get into nursing school. But how do you plan for your future when you’re just trying to keep up in the present? 

Laine Perfas: Coming up: Where the sisters are finding strength, hope, and time to dream – for themselves, and for each other. 

Trudy Palmer: Hi, I’m Trudy Palmer, a deputy editor for the Monitor Daily and one of the editors of this podcast series. I don’t know about you, but there was a lot I could relate to in “Stronger.” In this last episode, for example, the sisters’ hectic schedules sounded all too familiar. For most of my life, I’ve worked two or three jobs. That’s not exactly a recipe for work-life balance, but as with these women, you do what you gotta do. I think what that really means is that you do what’s needed for the people you love. That’s what “Stronger” is about – women’s love and strength ... and some ways our society could work better for all of us. If you’ve liked the series, I hope you’ll support more work like this by subscribing to The Christian Science Monitor. Just visit csmonitor.com/subscribe and join our community. Again, that’s csmonitor.com/subscribe. And thanks for listening.

[Music]

Laine Perfas: Throughout the pandemic, Jennifer Ashley and Jaelynn Ciballos were juggling an overwhelming schedule of school, and work, and planning for the future. And they were doing it all from a home that was not, let’s say, super conducive for quiet study or personal reflection. 

Mendoza: So when we sat down with them – 

Laine Perfas: – and their mom, Maria – 

Mendoza: – at their apartment this past spring, one of the things we wanted to know was: Was there ever any time to recharge? Where did they find the energy to keep going? 

[Music]

Jennifer Ashley: So during the the night time is when we’re all really connecting and kind of relaxing. We don’t really have to think about work. That’s when me and Jaelynn laugh the most. Like we’re always telling about each other’s days. We’ll be at the dining table and then my mom will come in, and then we’ll all be joking around over there. My dad will join in. 

Jaelynn: Or there are like, Saturdays where I’ll go out with my mom and my sister and we’ll get food and then we’ll bring it home and we’ll watch a movie like in her room. Which is really nice. 

Jennifer Ashley: Mmhm. And I think there’s there’s very rare days where in the middle of the week, like a random Tuesday or Thursday, that me and Jaelynn both don’t have work. And it’ll be crazy because I’ll have the car, too, that day. So on those rare days, we’ll take Miles and Janine to go get ice cream or we’ll go to like Michael’s and get some crafts stuff. That’ll give my parents and my grandparents some peace of mind for at least like three to four hours, and we’re just like doing a little sibling day. Those days are probably the best. 

[Music]

Mendoza: And this is something we came to understand about the Ciballoses. So much of what drives their lives is family. 

Jennifer Ashley: That was something that was ingrained in me from like a very, very young age. My parents always told me that, you know, you only have one family. You have to care for them. 

Laine Perfas: For Jennifer Ashley, that’s really meant carrying the weight not just of her own future, but that of her family. 

Mendoza: In one of our first Zoom conversations, she told us that the first big thing she wanted to buy after she became a nurse was a house for her parents. 

Jennifer Ashley: My parents have never owned anything in their name besides a car. So that’s my first thing to do, is, you know, that’s the only thing really keeping me going – just knowing that if I become a nurse, I can fulfill the dreams my parents had when they were younger. I could do it for them. 

Laine Perfas: She said something similar when we met them in person: 

Jennifer Ashley: I see how my parents are struggling right now and I just want to get them out of it.  

Laine Perfas: It’s like, even if she sometimes feels trapped in her situation, she’s using that to motivate herself, too. And her family sees it. They all see each other making it work, and love each other for it, even if they don’t always tell each other that. 

Jaelynn: My sister, sometimes she can be so hard on herself. And she’s like, “I’m not doing it right.” But I feel like when I see her, I’m like, dang – she’s really out here, she’s like, grinding. She’s going to work. She’s going to school. Like, college is not easy. Seeing her do those many things and then still being able to care for like, other people is really cool. I think it’s like something that I aspire to be.

Jennifer Ashley: Huh. See, that’s where we’re also really different. Like, um, whenever I hear things like that, I cry. But Jaelynn’s like, she’s like, “Oh yeah, I’ll absorb it.” 

[Music]

But what I’m proud about Jaelynn is she’s, like, super selfless. She would skip a bunch of school trips because she knew like, we couldn’t afford it. So even her teachers would be like, “This is a good opportunity for you.” And she’d be like, “It’s fine.” And we would never hear, like, any complaint from her. And at one point I had to give her my clothes, like hand me downs. She would never complain. She would like, rock those fits if she had to. 

I know there’s days she’ll cry by herself and she’ll break down. And it’s just really crazy because she doesn’t let that, you know, deter her from anything else.  

Jaelynn: Dang you got me there. 

Jennifer Ashley: She’ll just – she’ll just continue pushing. She’ll continue chugging. And like, yeah, I’m proud of you.  

Jaelynn: You got me there! You got me there. 

Jennifer Ashley: I’m proud of you.  

[Music]

Mendoza: I don’t know if you can tell, but the waterworks were definitely on by then. And the whole time her daughters were talking about each other, Maria, their mom, kind of just sat there, listening, the face mask she was wearing growing damp from her own tears. Miles, the youngest, was trying to get everyone’s attention, but Sam went ahead with one more question for Maria.

Sam: What does it feel like to hear them say all this?  

Maria: It’s hard. Because I don’t want to go them to go through this, but sometimes I can’t do anything. And I always let them know that I’m always here for them no matter what. And I know they always cry for me. That’s why it’s so hard for me as a mom to hear all those [things]. Because it hurts me so much.  

[Music]

Laine Perfas: Before we wrap up, we want to bring in one more person who’s had a front-row seat to Jennifer Ashley and Jaelynn’s experience. And that’s Erica Mosca, the founder of LIT – the nonprofit where Jennifer Ashley worked as a program manager. And where both sisters were also students at different times. 

Erica Mosca: In very clear ways our students are resilient. They – they work full-time jobs to support their families. They stayed home to support their siblings through virtual education. You know, there’s not a lot good about COVID, but one thing that is a positive is people are realizing it’s really hard when we tell people, “Just work hard and you’ll succeed,” when people work hard and they don’t succeed. That those are much bigger structural issues. I think that that’s actually where the work is.

[Music]

Laine Perfas: What gives you the most hope that we can change as a society and move forward to become a more equitable place?  

Mosca: Yeah, people like Jennifer Ashley and Jaelynn, right? You know, Jennifer Ashley, no matter how hard or what is in her way, she will become a nurse. She will become a nurse who cares about the community, who wants to work with populations that other individuals just don’t want to work for or work with. I think same thing with Jaelynn. She will be a leader. She’ll be in charge. The archetype of what is a leader, who is a leader, she will challenge those. She will show you can come from a different background, you can look different and you can be a leader. 

The only way that I sleep at night is I truly believe we’re empowering the next generation who are going to take on these social issues because they actually experienced it themselves and will be in a position of power to do something about it. 

[Music]

Mendoza: Back at the Ciballoses’ home, we asked the women about their hopes for the future. 

Mendoza: Having lived through this past year, but also looking ahead, you know, you’re both working so hard for your family, also trying to achieve your own goals and ambitions. What sort of life do you envision for each other?

Maria: Me, for my kids? I want them to achieve what they dream of, like you like finishing school. I’m looking forward to them like doing that and fulfill[ing] that. 

Jaelynn: For my sister, I want her to do something that she wants to do not because, like, she’s forced to. Because I always feel like she’s always doing things either for me or for just someone else. And I want her to get the job that she wants. And also just like do things just for herself, like not even thinking about anyone else for once.  

Jennifer Ashley: It’s hard to think about sometimes – ooh. Ooh!

Jaelynn: Oh my gosh, you guys are so –

Laine Perfas: It’s OK if you cry. Safe space!

Jennifer Ashley: I should’ve went first! Yeah, it’s like a question that’s always in my head. But like, I don’t like saying it out loud because I know I get emotional about it. ‘Cause like, you know, I have a lot of hopes and ambitions for Jaelynn. Like basically what she told me, like, I don’t want her to like, think about anyone else. I want her to just have fun in college. You know, she doesn’t have to worry about what’s going on back home. 

That’s why I always tell her. Like, if you want to go out of state, you can do it. Obviously, the issue is financial stuff. But I’m pretty sure you can get a ton of scholarships, like shoot for the stars. Don’t let anything hold you back even if we’re here. Like, you’ll be fine, you know?

[Music]

Laine Perfas: It’s been so great getting to know you guys and getting to know your family. And we’re sorry we made you cry. You’re going to make me cry. [Crosstalk, laughter] 

Jennifer Ashley: I think it’s good to have these questions because I think there’s a lot of things that we’ve said that we’ve never told each other.  

Jaelynn: It’s like very weird. 

Jennifer Ashley: It’s just – I’m like yeah, we talk to each other with, like, humor. But I don’t think we’ve ever had, like, the real talk of what have we really been through? Like, we actually look at each other and tell each other like, Oh, we’re struggling. So we don’t really have those conversations because obviously this is what happens. [Laughter]

[Music]

Mendoza: What a journey this has been, Sam.

Laine Perfas: I know! I’m like, weeping, happy tears, sad tears, all the tears, and I’m just so grateful that all these amazing women just opened up about their year to us. I learned so much. And I really hope we can all move forward from this, you know, stronger. Wink, wink.

Mendoza: OK. I see what you did there. But no, you’re right. And we’re so thankful to all of you for joining us. Whether this is the only episode you’ve listened to, or if you’ve been with us through this whole series, thank you so much. 

[Music]

Mendoza: And if we could lean on your support one more time: Please rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Laine Perfas: And to find transcripts for the episodes and photos of all the women, visit csmonitor.com/stronger. 

Mendoza: This episode was reported and produced by me, Jessica Mendoza.

Laine Perfas: And me, Samantha Laine Perfas.

Mendoza: Edited by Clay Collins and Trudy Palmer. Sound design by Morgan Anderson and Noel Flatt. We also want to thank Ann Hermes and Jake Turcotte for their work on the art for this series. 

Laine Perfas: This podcast was brought to you by The Christian Science Monitor. Copyright 2021. 

[Music]

[Ambient of Dutch Bros. coffee shop]

Jaelynn: It’s really good, I would get a Flap Jack, which is salted caramel, vanilla white, and chocolate. And then add Soft Top, which is like a marshmallow fluff, and then put cinnamon and nutmeg sprinkles. 

Laine Perfas: Oh my gosh. [Laughs]

Jaelynn: I don’t know, it’s a pretty good drink!

Laine Perfas: I will do that.

Jaelynn: Do you know what size?

Laine Perfas: A medium. 

Jaelynn: What else can I get for you guys today?

Mendoza: I’ll get the Double Rainbro?

Jaelynn: I always get the Double Rainbro, that one’s really good too. You guys are getting all my drinks!

[Laughter]

Dutch Bros. employee: I have your Flap Jack and Double Rainbro. Do you want straws today?

Laine Perfas / Mendoza: No thank you, we’re good. Bye Jaelynn!

Jaelynn: Bye, thank you!

END