I’m familiar with social services because I’ve been in counseling since the age of twelve. At that time, I tried to commit suicide after the death of my brother from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
But the system didn’t help. Things got worse. At 14, my mother’s friend began sexually abusing me. That went on for three years. In the meantime, I dropped out of school at 15 because I had to support myself. There was nowhere else to turn, so I turned to prostitution and drugs.
At 17, I became pregnant. In many ways, my pregnancy saved me because I began to attend parenting classes at Healthy Babies Project. My counselor, Miriam McNeill, had just come on staff. HBP kept me out of trouble and did so much more.
The counselors connected me with housing assistance. They asked me about my daily life and gave me motherly love. HBP provided me with things I needed for the baby but could not get on my own, like diapers, wipes, a car seat, and even food. The staff encouraged me to finish my schooling. I am currently in a GED program and just completed my exams.
I learned a lot in the parenting class, especially about how to manage an infant. This was important to me since my brother died of SIDS. At HBP, I found a support system of people that would help me as I raised my child. I would trust them with my own daughter. In fact, I refer to staff members as “Ma.” Had it not been for the case managers here, I would still be in the same dark situation. Now I have hope and a future. So does my daughter.
HBP continues to help me to stay on track and focus on my dreams and my child. Many young females are living out the same things that I have experienced. HBP helped changed my life. It can help change others’ lives, too.
*name protected for confidentiality