Most of us at 19 years old could barely take care of ourselves, much less seven younger siblings, but that is what a Thornton 19-year-old took on without hesitation after her mother's sudden death.
"I have seven younger siblings and one older sibling," said Monica Torres, as she looked at the Christmas stockings hung on the wall for each one. "The first one is Jason, the youngest, and then it's Rose, Joey, Joshua, James, Jasmine, Jaime, me, Jordan and then I have one for my mom."
In the season when we all seek tradition, the nine children are mourning the loss of the mother who kept their traditions alive.
"So June 1st, I got a call at 5 in the morning. They told me my mom wasn't breathing," said Torres. "By the time I got here they said that she wasn't going to make it."
Without hesitation, the teenager put her plans to get her real estate license on hold to move back in to raise her seven younger siblings in their Thornton home.
"I decided I didn't want my siblings to be separated and go into the foster care system, and I didn't want them living in different households," Monica said. "It's not what my mother would have wanted."
She said her youngest brother, Jason, has struggled the most.
"The day that my mom passed, I was just worried. I didn't know what to do," Jason said. "My heart just, like, broke. Once it was time to go home, I just felt like I was OK. Now I get to not worry because now my sisters are here for me. I just want to say that all my sisters are the best."
Soon, though, Monica, a part-time barista, learned about unpaid water bills that are now her responsibility.
"Terrified," she said. "I don't make $1,600 a week. Maybe a month, but that doesn't include other bills, food and clothes and all the other stuff that we need."
That's where the Butterfly Foundation, a Colorado nonprofit that helps families who have recently experienced tragedy, stepped in.
"I said to myself, 'We have to do something for her,'" said Sandy Jones, the executive director of the Butterfly Foundation. "When we have a really special story, we essentially kind of contact everybody we know and say, 'Can we kind of ban together and help this family?'"
Jones reached out to Denver7, asking if our viewers would be willing to help the Torres family pay a month of bills, and the Butterfly Foundation will match that donation.
"So we could give them $5,000 total, and a fresh start to the new year," Jones said.
For Monica, the offer brings new hope for a fresh start and new traditions they are now trying to make together.
"It would mean the world," said Torres. "Giving them a good Christmas, instead of all my paychecks going to bills. Just starting off the new year with a clean slate."
If you would like to donate to help the Torres family, click here or below and look for "Help for Seven Siblings" on the drop-down menu.
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