Macheal Vanderslice brings order to disarray. 

After losing her two sons, Daymian and James, because of a drug and alcohol addiction, Macheal got clean and got them back after 15 months about three years ago. With her second chance, Macheal has built a house of tight discipline — a necessity because Daymian has Asberger's Syndrome and James has ADHD — that is cemented in recovered love. 

Now, Macheal sacrifices to provide for her sons and 18-month-old daughter, Pandora, while searching for a job and receiving $129 a week in unemployment. However, job hunting while maintaining an environment fit for her kids proves difficult. As a single mother, she has to be home when Daymian and James come home from school in the mid-afternoon, which limits her ability to work nights or late into the day because she can't afford a babysitter.

Still, Macheal provides for her kids in exchange for providing for herself. Her socks have holes and her winter coat is old, but that's OK as long as the children have what they need. 

"I can go without," she says. "But not my kids."

Macheal also tries to help out friends whenever she can, allowing them a place to stay that's away from negative influences. 

"No matter how poor you are, you still have something to give," she said.
James, 9, laughs as Macheal wakes him up one morning. Most days, she tickles her boys to get them out of bed and ready for the day.
After getting out of bed, James runs around while Daymian watches early-morning cartoons. Keeping the boys on task in the morning is a daily challenge for Macheal.
After getting the kids to school and daycare, Macheal fills out her calendar with a doctor's appointment for her daughter, Pandora. In the kitchen, her friend, Ricky, prepares breakfast. Ricky and his daughter, Tabitha, 5, are staying temporarily until they find more stable living arrangements. A former addict, Ricky stays with Macheal because she provides a safe environment for he and Tabitha away from certain people and influences.
Later, Macheal scans classified ads for job openings. Since losing her job at Dairy Queen in July, Macheal has relied on $129-a-week in unemployment benefits.
Macheal listens during a job search class at the Antioch Hills Community Center. During the two-day course, Macheal gets basic job training, career counseling and resume advice.
Macheal and her other classmates take a break before going back into the community center. "It's the one habit I can't break," she later said of smoking.
Macheal chats with her friend, Angel, outside on her porch. Angel, who also had her son taken by the department of family services, is working to get her child back. Macheal has allowed Angel to stay while she searches for a job, but later asked her to leave because she can't get her son back while staying with Macheal. "This is rock bottom!" Angel yelled as she walked away. Quietly to herself, Macheal replied, "sometimes you have to hit bottom."
As the boys tear through a small box of Halloween decorations, Macheal cleans a window before the boys decorate it. Halloween is the family's favorite holiday.
In the emergency room, Macheal signs a treatment waiver for Pandora, who had a 101-degree fever and an earache. Macheal uses Medicaid Part D to help pay for her families' healthcare, but rarely has enough money to afford for her own.
Daymian peers through the front door while talking with his mother one afternoon, asking if he can play a video game before dinner.
While playing on the ground with his mother, James rests briefly underneath an extra blanket.

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