Book of Dreams: Generous helper could use a helping hand

12/20/2013 6:31 PM

12/23/2013 3:36 PM

Tina Godina gets by on spirit.

She is a single mother of four and a grandmother of eight. For more than a decade, she has been caring for her 12-year-old grandson, whose mother died when he was an infant.

Though she lives on a fixed income and has been disabled since 2009, Godina, 52, lives to share what she has with others, from family to people she meets in her daily life. Book of Dreams readers have been asked to help purchase basic clothing, shoes, home goods and art supplies for Godina.

“We can look at the bad stuff, the tragedies all around, but we can get through anything. You just have to keep moving,” she said.

Two months ago, Godina met a woman who was searching for her dog on the streets of Godina’s Del Paso Heights neighborhood. Godina took the troubled young woman into her home and comforted her, feeding her soup and sandwiches and talking to her about life. The woman is now living in transitional housing.

“I just helped her through it,” Godina said. “That’s my mission, I think. I just try to share with people and give them hope.”

Godina grew up in Sacramento and was raised by her mother and grandmother.

Though she had what she describes as a “beautiful childhood,” her early adult years were less so, having experienced domestic violence.

But Godina kept going, raising her sons and helping as she could with her grandchildren.

“There is hope and you can find it,” she said.

At 40 years old, she secured financial aid and scholarships to attend American River College, where she graduated with an associate’s degree, which helped lead to a job as a teacher at a day care program. She has since stopped working, but volunteers at the Washington Neighborhood Center, where she runs an art class.

Kathryn Pitts, a minister and blog talk radio personality, said Godina gives to others without asking for anything in return for herself.

The two met when Pitts, who was new to Sacramento at the time, noticed Godina trying to help a woman with cerebral palsy get from her car to her wheelchair.

The two began talking and Pitts has been inspired by Godina, who volunteers for the radio program when she is able, providing information for people in need about resources in the community.

“She’s either helping someone’s child or animal or taking someone to the hospital,” Pitts said. “She’s just always there with a solution. She gives and gives and gives and never gets anything back.”

Needed: Clothing, shoes, home goods and art supplies.

Total: $2,000.

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