CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Three weeks ago, News 3 shared the story of 88-year-old Mary Clark from Chesapeake.
13-year-old James and 12-year-old Robert are gifted, smart and talented.
Both boys enjoy sports, music, technology and games.
“They keep me young, and they keep me going all the time,” said Clark.
She is raising her great grandnephews by herself to keep them out of the foster care system.
After the story aired, a viewer was so touched she reached out to the station and asked to give Clark a letter and a generous gift.
Monday morning, we stopped by Clark’s home to drop it off.
“It was awesome. It sunk deep in my heart. It has given me encouragement and let me know I’m not walking alone as others are going through problems,” said Clark.
Clark said since the story ran, many people have reached out to her.
“I would like to thank all that have called, that have emailed, that've prayed for me. I want to thank them because it gives me courage to do more and more,” said Clark.
Clark said raising young boys isn’t easy at times, but her faith and love for family is what keeps her going.
She offers advice for anyone out there struggling.
“The trials that you have in life - you may think that they’re hard, but they’re preparing you for a greater task,” said Clark.
Clark is the boys' great aunt. She did not want them to be separated in the foster care system, so four years ago she made the decision to raise them herself.
“I said, 'As long as I’ve got a house, you’ve got a house.' I said, 'As long as I’ve got food, you’ve got food,'” said Clark.
Clark's brother is the boys' grandfather. He passed away a few years ago. She showed News 3 pictures of her family and shared stories about growing up on the farm in Suffolk. She said people are shocked to learn that she’s raising children at her age.
“See, my brother, he was good to all of his sisters and the whole family. My mother told us, 'You got to help one another,'” said Clark.
She said she also received help from the community. The group Western Branch Philanthropy donated presents to the boys this past Christmas. The organization provides help to people throughout the community through donations.
“People have been good to me. My church family, my pastor, they’ve been just like a family to me and the community,” said Clark. “Everybody has been good, and I tell them it takes a village to raise children, so I’ve really been blessed with that.”
Clark said she focuses on the things that are important to her.
“We have love for God first, ourselves second, then our family and our friends. We have got to love everybody,” said Clark.