Alora — Living on Your Own in Loudoun Forces You to Grow Up Fast

I grew up in Loudoun County, living with my Mom, who was a single parent. We never had money, but we didn’t struggle. My Mom taught me how to get by, which is not always easy here in Loudoun.

I worked two jobs since the age of 15. At 19, I stopped going to school and moved out of my Mom’s house. I have been on my own ever since. I wanted to be independent and self-sufficient. Once you learn you can do it, it’s great.

A year later, I went to culinary school. But, I didn’t get too far. So, I came back home and moved in with my grandparents for a brief time. I found a job as a dog walker and made enough money to rent my own apartment in the basement of a small house. I began paying my bills and my taxes, but, I just didn’t earn enough to pay for food every day.

No one in Loudoun should have to go to bed hungry every night.


Worried, my Dad took me to the local food pantry. At first, I was really apprehensive—worried that people would judge me. But, everyone working at the pantry was really nice to me. I didn’t have to be hungry anymore.

And then I found Athena, my 5-year-old pit bull. She was in a bad situation when I first saw her. I fell in love and adopted her. Now, we do everything together. And, the pantry provides food for my dog as well!

I have learned that there is always an upside to life: If you work hard, it will eventually pay off. Life will get easier. I am 21 and saving to become a certified dog trainer. My goal is to become a female Cesar Milan and to move to North Carolina to be closer to my Dad. I don’t want my parents to worry about me. I am going to be just fine.

I recently learned that Loudoun County is the richest county in the country. It’s so insane. My friends get everything from their parents. I hope that we can all find a way to give a little bit to those who struggle just to get by. Together, we can help End the Need in Loudoun.