I’m a 34-year-old single mom raising seven kids. Four are my biological children, and three are my sister’s kids. I’m in the process of adopting them because their mom was addicted to drugs. I didn’t want to see the kids being bounced around, so I took on the task. I grew up in the foster system. I was raised by my grandmother, Emma. Watching her take care of me and my five siblings motivated me to do my best. Life is definitely hectic. I’m also at school studying to be an RN. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was eating fast food, and I needed to lose weight.

After work, I’m cooking, and making sure homework gets done.

The kids all have extracurricular activities, and balancing everything is hard. I joined the Thrive Challenge because I want to be the best and healthiest I can be for the kids. They motivate me to be better.

The first thing I did was to stop eating fast food. 

Every morning, I make breakfast for the family. I boil two days worth of eggs, we’ll have turkey bacon and avocado — and everyone gets off to a good start. Meal prepping helps me stay organized. I’ll barbecue up a whole bunch of turkey, and chicken thighs. I’ll cook rice or potatoes and I always get my greens in, spinach or a salad. My favorite dinner is turkey tacos with pico de gallo, wrapped in romaine lettuce. 

I bought dumbbells and I do 30 minute YouTube workouts.

My six-year-old, Kamea, likes to grab a little dumbbell and join in. We listen to Beyoncé or gospel music like the Maverick City Choir. I also walk two to three miles on the track near my house with Kamea and Khamani, who’s 14. 

I have a schedule — and I stick to it.

Khamani helps me with household tasks like cooking and laundry. When I get stressed, I stop for a minute and do a breathing exercise on the Thrive app.

We’re spending more family time together.

We signed up for a reading program at the library. And we go to the park. I get on the slide with the little ones, we play kickball, and I play basketball with the boys. 

Faith is important to me, so every morning, we read affirmations on a Christian app. 

We take turns choosing different ones. This week’s is, “Give it your all, God is with you, you are beautiful.” The little ones join in even though they might not understand everything. I do Bible study with them so we can all get closer to God. And I feel like it’s helped us become closer as a family. 

If I’m going through something tough, I call Pastor Derrick.

He’s a friend who used to be a Walmart manager. And he’s always there for me. I also get my “girl time.” My friend, Marilyn, and I go on spontaneous trips. We went to St. Louis recently, and we’ll go for spa days.

I go to bed at 8:30 every evening.

I have a device that plays sounds like rain and thunderstorms. It’s very calming. I’m getting a full eight hours of sleep. I wake up early in the morning and get myself off to a good start. I feel more energized and less groggy.

Nothing is a walk in the park.

Two of my sister’s kids have ADHD, and I’m making sure they get the education they need. But with Thrive, I’ve got everyone on a schedule. I feel less stressed.

I started out at Walmart as a cashier 14 years ago, and now I’m a pharmacy technician.

I feel appreciated by my manager, Vinay. I love problem solving. It’s great seeing a smile on a patient’s face when I can help them get a lower price on their drugs. I know what I’m doing is worthwhile.

I’ve made a promise — that I’ll do something special for me one day a week.

Last week I went to the zoo by myself. I looked at the turtles and I fed the goats. I took the train ride around the lake. It felt so peaceful without everyone going, “Mommy!” It’s nice to have that alone time. 

The Thrive Challenge is life-changing for me, I’m not gonna lie. 

It gives me motivation and helps me stay on track. I’ve lost 17 pounds and I’m not depressed anymore. I’ve got my house in order — and myself!

— Tikisha Green, Walmart Supercenter #1690, Decatur, IL; $5K Winner