#UrbanUpboundMothers: Tanay Felton-Carr, Entering Motherhood during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tanay and her daughter at the Urban Upbound East Harlem site. Copyright: Urban Upbound.

Entering motherhood is one of the most beautiful moments in life. But how does it feel to have your baby during one of the most stressful times in recent history? NYCHA resident Tanay Felton-Carr gave birth to her daughter in April 2020, beginning her motherhood journey during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tanay loves spending time with her daughter, but she knows that she needs job security in order to provide for her family. Since she was introduced to Urban Upbound in 2017, she has secured various jobs, most recently working at a supermarket.

Looking for support during COVID

Tanay had to wake up before 3 AM to be able to arrive at the supermarket at 5 AM. She took the bus to work which was very challenging for her, especially when she started experiencing morning sickness. Tanay never complained because she knew that this was the only way to be able to provide for her daughter. As her pregnancy advanced, she was given fewer hours at work and was eventually let go.

Tanay is grateful that she has her partner and her extended family to support her during the pandemic. When she is out looking for work and attending interviews, her partner takes care of their daughter. When Tanay is not in job-hunt mode, her daughter fills up her time — whether it’s a visit to the grandparents or going to the doctor for check-ups. Right now, her employment options are limited. Given her role as a primary caregiver, she can only take a part-time job.

Tanay and her daughter at an Easter celebration at the Urban Upbound East Harlem site. Copyright: Urban Upbound.

Urban Upbound’s Support

Despite her challenges, Tanay is very diligent in her job-searching. She uses all the help available to her and she has been offered numerous online and in-person interviews, referred by the Urban Upbound counselor she is working with. To help her gain confidence, Tanay became a Community Coach at our East Harlem office for a brief period of time. She regularly attends our job readiness workshops and engages in one-on-one counseling sessions to practice her interviewing skills.

After earning a certificate in child care, Tanay is currently applying for a job in that field. Yet her true passion is in the fashion industry and in the future she wants to be a fashion designer. Urban Upbound will continue to work with Tanay to help her realize her dreams.

To celebrate mother’s day, Urban Upbound is lifting the stories of mothers and listening to their particular challenges during the pandemic. We spoke with several mothers who have benefited from Urban Upbound’s services. This past year has been hard for everyone, but for parents, they had to endure additional challenges. Follow our Instagram page to read more stories or subscribe to our newsletter. You can also donate to keep our services running for the New Yorkers who need them the most!

A collection of stories around NYC’s public housing communities curated by Urban Upbound, a non-profit organization with a mission to break cycles of poverty.