Aimless, scared, alone. I did have one goal in mind; to get out of my parents’  house. Aside from that, having no direction in life was a frightening place to be. I had been dealing with crippling anxiety for years and the relationships within my family had been strained. My only friend was my baby’s father.

Hi, my name is Katherine, and I graduated from the program 6 years ago. During my time there, I learned to set high expectations for my future and figure out the steps needed to accomplish my goals. I was no longer aimless. I gained confidence as I began meeting those goals, and by watching other teen moms acheive success of their own. I was no longer so scared, I learned to trust in God’s love again. He had so purposefully placed incredible, supportive women (including my mentor!) in my life. I became connected to the church again and I started seeing that despite my fears, the church could be inviting, even to me. I connected with like-minded teens who were working hard towards their own goals. We formed a community and I was no longer alone.

Having hope for the future and experiencing connection within a community, I was rooted deep and ready to grow.  Now, I am the mother of a wonderful 10 year old daughter, who surprises me everyday with her creativity, optimism, and thoughtfulness. I am the wife to a supportive, loving husband, who adopted my daughter soon after we wed and has a bond with her that delights my heart.

Since completing the program, I have graduated with a BA in Elementary Education and an MA in Special Education. I now teach Special Education in a K-5 elementary setting. My relationship with my parents and siblings is close once more. While my daughter’s relationship with her biological father has faded, our relationship with her grandparents has remained strong.

This spring, we moved to a new home.  As we continue to become part of new communities, through work, church and volunteer organizations, I reflect back on a time of fear, loneliness, and aimlessness. It surprises me how far I’ve come. It is no coincidence that the support I received at a most vulnerable time in my life has rooted me in something greater than myself; God’s unconditional love. Challenges continue to come, as any employee, friend, parent, or spouse surely knows, but unlike 11 years ago, I am now rooted deeply and ready to grow.