Homeless Teen Builds A New Life

“Change Begins With One Person”

Homeless Teen Builds a New Life for Herself, Her Child

By Toyin P.

Finding out I was pregnant seemed anything like good news. My family and I had just been wrongfully evicted from our home of seven years. Then, our new home caught fire. It left our family homeless. My stepfather had third-degree burns on 70% of his body and was permanently disabled. It felt like life couldn’t get any worse and I had nowhere to turn. I prayed and begged God to give me strength, wondering why my family and I were going through this series of unfortunate events. I just needed a break; we all needed a break.

Toyin and babyI hadn’t even had the chance to tell my family I was pregnant. It didn’t help that neither the father nor his family wanted me to keep the child. This was my first pregnancy and I felt so alone in the decision-making process. I started to give into the negativity and believe that having a baby at this time wasn’t a good idea. While I was focused on keeping my family together and moving towards living under one roof again, I knew I had to act fast if I was going to keep my child.

From despair to hope

The health center confirmed my pregnancy and gave me a resource list, reminding me how important it is for a pregnant woman to have prenatal care. Since I was still in the decision-making process, I felt the child deserved to be healthy. But I didn’t receive public assistance. I had no social worker, no case worker, no income, no referrals, no health insurance. I didn’t even know where to start in order to become eligible for those things. I began calling agencies to ask for help. Yet as I called I was turned away over and over. Most claimed my situation exceeded their ability to help. The weight of despair was overwhelming.

Then I called Healthy Babies Project. They told me I could simply walk in and receive assistance!

HBP helped me obtain health insurance along with prenatal and post-partum care. I was assigned a family support worker and a nurse practitioner and then invited to join T-PEP (Teen Parent Empowerment Program) and the Effective Black Parenting Class.

New baby, new goals, new life

With the support of the HBP staff, I decided to continue with my pregnancy and tell my family the good news.

The people at HBP helped me lay out goals to better myself, my child, and my family situation. My family social worker helped me one-on-one to take daily steps in achieving each goal. She kept consistent communication with me so she knew what ways she could help.

The HBP staff members have brought numerous blessings to my life. They have given knowledge and understanding to me, my child, and the vast number of woman that seek their services every day. Most importantly, they have a firm understanding of what change really is and how it works: change begins with one person and moves outward.

I’ve implemented what I’ve learned at HBP into my day-to-day life and continue to pass each lesson learned to my child. My relationship with HBP is truly the gift that keeps on giving.  I’m really glad to say I’m a part of such a great organization.