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At first, I was hesitant to embrace change. Everyone in my family was raised on the South Side, and I never thought of one day settling down somewhere else. But all moms, especially single moms, need to find their courage when making life-changing decisions for their families. I just never thought it would involve leaving behind the only place we knew. As much as I loved the South Side and the community we built there, I knew that my family had outgrown our home. We needed a new place where we could all continue to grow together and make new memories. 

I had been on the hunt for a new place for a while, but it was my 20-year-old daughter who discovered The Stella, a new apartment complex on the East Side. After some research on the area and several family meetings, I was convinced to book an appointment to tour the apartments. Looking back on that day, I remember how welcome we felt. At that moment, I think we all knew we were already home. 

In no time, my six children and I were moving from a small space on the South Side into a new four-bedroom apartment with a balcony overlooking the entire property. With the new living space, I was able to provide my kids with more privacy and space to concentrate on their studies. Having two young adults in college, two high school students, and two elementary school students is a lot for a single mom to accommodate, but moving to a more affordable and spacious apartment helped make it possible. It also helped that my children didn’t have to change school districts and leave friends behind.

While I make sure my children prioritize education, I also stress the importance of family time. On weekends we really have fun here. We love to spend our time together watching movies and playing video games. The kitchen is my favorite part of the apartment because I can move around and not feel crowded when I am cooking meals for my family. 

The location of The Stella is excellent, making it convenient to get to H-E-B, Copernicus Park, and various stores and restaurants. I enjoy walking my kids to Copernicus Park because it is so close to the apartments. We can all get some fresh air and exercise without going too far from home. My daughters love shopping for clothes and appreciate how convenient it is to get to different shopping centers when there’s an item they need or if they just want to spend an afternoon browsing the racks. They especially love the shops on WW White Road, like Melrose and Citi Trends. 

Nicholas Copernicus Park features a walking trail, playground, and basketball courts. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Moving into this apartment also meant having a more peaceful and comfortable environment that my family and I hadn’t experienced in a while. The complex is clean, accessible, and safe. Along with the warm-hearted staff, my kids and I love the friendly community. At night when the sun is down, my kids like to go for a walk around the complex. They are very friendly and talkative and have met other residents who match their personalities. That definitely helped make them feel more comfortable here. 

The people that we have met since becoming residents at The Stella have made our memories here that much sweeter. Our neighbors have been welcoming and respectful. We quickly made friends and learned that the residents here form a community that looks after one another. When I had issues with my vehicle, two gentlemen graciously offered to help me. It’s instances like these that confirm to us that we made the right decision to move to the East Side.

Maria Hernandez stands in front of the mailroom at The Stella, where large vines climb above the green space. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

We’ve made nothing but beautiful memories here and we have gotten stronger together. Taking the first step to leave the only home we knew was scary for all of us, but we are so grateful we made this change in our lives. Not only does The Stella provide a safe and secure environment, friendly staff and community, and convenience to get around town, it has been the fresh start we truly needed. 

Maria Hernandez is a San Antonio native and a single mother of eight children. Spending quality time with her friends and family is most important to her.