Even though Kizzy Jackson and her mom, Betty Hyder, are living on limited means, they are always finding ways to showcase the things that bring them joy, from the collage of family photos, inspirational messages and children's awards that adorn the walls of their cramped two-bedroom apartment to the small but lush garden that Hyder has created under a formerly drab stairwell by their front door.


“It’s my sanctuary,” she said, looking over her garden with adoring eyes as she named each type of plant. “It’s where I spend all my time. I just love all of them.”


Kizzy Jackson lived in Austin as a child and moved back in 2017 after flooding in Baton Rouge made it difficult to find work. Hyder joined her in Austin with the Jackson's sons, Clarence, 11, and Joseph, 10, December 2018 after Hyder's brother, whom she was caring for, died.


Both of the boys have needs that can make parenting a challenge. Clarence is autistic and nonverbal, showing his personality primarily through art, and Joseph has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety.


The Jackson-Hyder family are one of 12 families featured in the Statesman’s Season for Caring program, which helps hundreds of families through local nonprofit organizations. They were nominated to the Statesman's Season for Caring by Communities in Schools of Central Texas, a nonprofit that surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.


With a little help, Julieth Reyes, care coordinator with the nonprofit Communities in Schools of Central Texas, believes this family could be the one giving back to its community as soon as next year.


“They’re very independent, and they’re also very giving. They don’t want to take if they don’t have to. You don’t always see that,” Reyes said. “They’re always wondering, ‘Is there another way we can do it ourselves?’ They’re always concerned about how does this affect other people and the people around them.”


The community reacted to the Jacksons’ story and reached out. Grisham Middle School donated more than $10,480 worth of gift cards and gifts. Body by Design bought winter coats for the whole family and dressers.


The only things left on their wish list is a larger, stable house or apartment or assistance with rent at current apartment and a newer car or mechanic work on current car.


To find out more about the family’s needs or to donate one of the items on its wish list, contact Communities in Schools, 512-462-1771; ciscentraltexas.org.