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‘Paycheck to Paycheck’: Katrina Gilbert offers a glimpse as life as single mom

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The HBO film “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert” is going to be a water-cooler discussion viewers are going to be having over the next week. Katrina Gilbert, a 30-year-old mother of three who works as a certified nursing assistant in an extended-care facility, opens her life to show America how she struggles to get ahead with the needs of three children. According to the Washington Post on Sunday, Gilbert is one example of the working-class poverty in America.

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The film is a candid look at how sometimes there is a struggle to make ends meet. The needs for food, clothing and medicine often have to be a choice instead of a requirement as things are so tight. Despite these obstacles, Gilbert works to better her circumstances, applying for college courses that could raise her income. Yet, the system seems to work against her instead of for her.

Katrina Gilbert found herself living in a trailer with seven-year-old Brooklynn, five-year-old Lydia and three-year-old Trent. The mom of three serves as their sole breadwinner and primary caregiver. Even though life is difficult, the challenges faced by this mother isn’t alone. More than 42 million American women are faced with difficult situations like this and there are 28 million children who depend on their mothers for providing the basic necessities of life. It is not easy to provide shelter, food and clothing in today's economy and all viewers can relate to the economic struggles of raising children, even if they cannot identify with being in substandard living situations.

While the film debuts on HBO, the impact of this message will be felt further as it is expected to be explored by viewers who don’t have the cable network at home. The film will also be available free online on, and YouTube.

“Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert” will be on HBO on Monday, March 17. Check the listings for local show times.


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