Where there is an action, there is a reaction—and sometimes that reaction can make all the difference.
Leigh Schwartz has been wishing for a Christmas miracle.
Schwartz, a single mother to a 14-year-old daughter, is a resident of Boyertown. She says it’s been the two of them since her daughter was 3 years old.
“We fell in love with it here,” she said, describing the area as “rich” and “historic.”
On Dec. 23, Schwartz made the call to share her story—the share the slew of experiences leading up the holidays that made her think of the Christmas holiday a little different this year.
A few weeks back, Schwartz found out her daughter was experimenting with drugs—both illegal and those easily bought over the counter at convenience stores.
“I want to do everything in my power to make sure this doesn’t happen to another young person in this town,” she said. Natives of a small town in New Jersey, Schwartz says Boyertown is like a city to them.
“It’s become such a crisis in the center of town,” she said in reference to the illegal drugs. “It’s readily available; I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Schwartz says there were no “warning signs,” and noted her daughter was dealing with other personal issues. “I want her to succeed and learn from this.”
“It’s heartbreaking for me to go through this as a parent,” she said. “When I was her age...there is a difference in the information they’re exposed to. It’s too much so soon.”
“Disturbing” and “heartbreaking” were the words she used when speaking about how young people are when they’re exposed to certain things.
“If my story will help one person, one family, I feel like I’ve succeeded. I want to give it a voice. We have to get through hurtles. There’s always a way to get by.
Then, on Friday, Dec. 12, Schwartz says she came home from work and walked into “mass destruction.” She says Boyertown Police Department is still investigating the home invasion which stripped her of many things including physical and financial security.
“They ripped food out of the pantry, threw everything over the walls and floors,” she said, adding that they took the money she had been saving for Christmas and car repairs. “Every cent counts in my household.” She estimated the savings at $900. “I always try to see the good and am thankful I got home when I did.”
Schwartz says one of the ways she’s coping is by turning her energies into shifts at work.
“Christmas is more than gifts,” she said, defining the holiday as a spiritual one. “I’m focusing on that. We’ll get through it.”
Schwartz’s daughter is now on the road to recovery and Schwartz is looking to help others.
“It’s hard to reach out for help,” she said. “I’m not in denial anymore. I hope to get more involved.”