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story.lead_photo.caption From left, Gunner, Christy Jimenez, Mikaleah (low row), Kaleb and Michael pictured in front of their new house. (PHOTO BY KATIE STONE)

Christy Jimenez is an all-around small-town girl with a big heart. She has a big love for children and uses her past to create a bright future for those around her.

At 17, she fell asleep at the wheel while driving back home to Queen City from Texarkana. She had been to the movies with some friends, but she ended her night at a local hospital. She hit a tree and cannot remember anything after the being at the movie theatre.

She suffered a brain bleed, which caused her to be in a coma for about a day. She also suffered amnesia from the bleeding in her brain.

"I just woke up one day in my mom's bed," she said. "All the memories I have from that time are just stories that people have told me."

She was puzzled by the situation. Why had she woken up in her mom's bed? Why did she have staples in her arm? And what had happened after she left the movies the night before? Her family worked to help her remember.

"My mom told me it was kind of like that movie '50 First Dates.' She just kept telling me the same things over and over to help me remember," she said.

Once she returned to school, she had many obstacles. She had once been a stellar student with great grades who played clarinet in the high school marching band. She was a cheerleader who participated in extracurricular activities. But after her wreck, she could not remember much about school. "I had to take my classes on a computer because I was so behind on my work and struggling to catch up," Christy said. "I could no longer read music, so I was unable to play my clarinet."

She eventually got back in band by her senior year, though she continued to struggle with reading music. She graduated high school in 2006.

Christy began her college career working toward a business degree. But after working as a room mom for her son's pre-kindergarten class, she discovered she really enjoyed working with children. She continued to volunteer in her son's classroom when he began kindergarten at Wake Village.

"I became his classroom mom and volunteered in his classroom weekly. I got close to his teacher and classmates," she said.

By the end of that school year, she had accepted a job with the school. She has worked at the elementary for six years and continued to volunteer for the Volunteers In Public Schools program.

"The kids see me as the fun teacher. I get to do activities with them like yoga and drum fit," she said. "I teach them how to eat healthy and how what we eat affects their body and other healthy habits."

Christy teaches kindergarten through fifth grade. She continues to volunteer as a coach for Little League soccer, tee-ball, flag football and is coaching basketball this season.

She expects to finish her teaching degree soon.

"I pray for God to use me and I truly believe that I am where he wants me to be," Christy said. "It makes me happiest to host events and invite the kids' friends over to a safe and loving home."

In 2018, she was presented with a situation that her heart could not ignore. She and her husband, Ricky, sought to become the legal guardians of her nephews.

"I just knew that if they were not kept together with me, they would have been split up into different homes," she said. "I just couldn't have that."

Christy and Ricky's family grew from three to seven in a matter of days. And much occurred in the months that followed.

One of the children moved to live with her biological father after being with Christy for seven months. Yet Christy held strong in her faith and persistence. After two years of court formalities, they finally received guardianship of three of the children in October 2020. She was overjoyed that this process was finally done.

"I just want them to have stability and the structure of a family," she said. "I want them to just be kids and learn that life has consequences. I know that they will not always agree with me or even like me, but I am OK with that. I am trying to be a guardian for them who wants the best out of life and just wants them to excel."

Christy gives credit to her family and to God for all the support she has had through the years.

"My family has been so supportive and involved with all of this. My husband was all-in from the beginning," she said.

"I also give credit to friends, my Tiger family (co-workers) and to For Sake of One. This whole experience also really opened our eyes and hearts to the foster care system and the many kids that need loving homes every day."

She recalled a time when she was heartbroken about a house that they wanted to buy. They were living in a three-bedroom/one-bathroom rental house when the deal fell through.

"We're now blessed with a home large enough for the kids to have their own rooms and multiple bathrooms to share. Looking back now, she believes they did not receive the original house because God was going to grow their family by three.

"There are many new challenges that come with raising nonbiological children and handling controversy with their other family members, but I have a strong support system and a lot of faith," Christy said.

"The kids still get to have a relationship with their other two sisters and we make sure to keep them connected."

 

 

Name:

Christy Jimenez

Family:

Married to Ricky Jimenez with one son, Gunner; nephews Michael and Kaleb and niece, Mikaleah

Neighborhood:

Texarkana, Texas

Occupation:

Paraprofessional, instructional aide, creative movement instructor at Wake Village Elementary

Favorite Color:

Cyan/teal

Favorite Food:

Chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce

Favorite Hobby:

Traveling

Favorite Tv Show:

Grey's Anatomy (currently)

Favorite Quote:

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" —Saint Augustine of Hippo

Favorite Book:

Hunger Games Trilogy

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