MPW.64 / Troy Here for Shaylee by Leo Postovoit
Photographer
Leo Postovoit Whittier, California
Team Lee

Story Summary

Shaylee's parents say they dedicate their lives to making everything work. "She's why I try so hard," says her dad, Jason Perez. "I love her, and my other daughter, Ivy, more than anything else." He works 10 minimum wage hours a week at a local Troy, Mo., restaurant, and says he's hoping for a promotion to full-time work soon.

Shaylee's mom, Erika Kautz, does not work but with family help and government assistance they get by. Recently, Jason's dad, Joe Perez, moved into Jason's house to help raise Shaylee, who he calls "his baby blue eyes."

The Perez household has other complicated issues, such as Jason's constant desire to see his other daughter, a pending legal charge against Jason and the health struggles with Erika's grandmother Shirley Duvel. Despite this, they say they are determined to make it all work. "We just take it one day at a time," Jason says.