Jeanna and Robert’s Story:
Before entering the Florence Crittenton Home, I was a young 14 year old girl who thought that life was normal. My mom had two jobs and five children and was struggling to make ends meet. My siblings and I would run the town while she was at work. Often we would never even make it home for the night, and mom didn’t know where we were anyways.
One day my mom took me in for a doctor’s visit. The nurse told me that I was pregnant. As my heart sank I started to cry, only to know I had to tell my mom. As I entered the waiting room tears fell down my cheeks. She was worried and asked me what was wrong. I told her to read the paperwork and ran out to the car. With a motherly look on her face she told me “it is your choice to either have this baby or take care of it now”. I sat their thinking to myself “I do not want to take that chance knowing I did not even try”. I decided to become a young mother not knowing how hard it truly would be.
Around the time I was eight months pregnant mom had her breaking point. Alcohol and drugs turned her life upside down. As she went off to jail my older sister, younger brother, and I were placed in foster care; only days away of having my own little boy.
On May 23, Robert was born and I felt scared and all alone, but it was time to grow up. I wanted what was best for this beautiful baby boy and the “best” was me.
One of my very first grownup decisions came about 2 weeks later. Either I was going to Florence Crittenton Home or the state was going to take my baby boy. Already feeling so scared and alone I made my decision and said my good-byes to my family and friends.
As I accepted the opportunity to be a resident of Florence Crittenton, I knew it would be a huge challenge. I was given warm welcomes by staff, other young mothers, and their children. My stay there was a year and 1 day. They taught me multiple qualities that I have and now use in my everyday life. They gave me strength when I was weak, and mother hood became my life.
We had chores to keep our living spaces clean, school or work to attend, and children to take care of as well. We had everything we ever needed at Florence Crittenton Home, from someone to talk to when you’re down, or helping hands when you need them. FCH provided a warm roof over our heads, food in our tummies and clothes on our backs. If we needed a diaper, formula, or medicine, all necessities were there, as well as a daycare. We earned our privileges through our daily life, as well as our children’s too.
By the time I left I was on the honor roll of Helena High School, and my parenting classes and counseling sessions were completed. My goals that were set for me to achieve were done and it was time to go home. I made close relationships with other women and children as well as staff members too. I had survived the Florence Crittenton challenge and was on my way to achieve more goals.
As I returned home to my family and friends, it was as if we all were different people, for the better that is. Mom was done drinking and doing drugs and was so much more amazing and beautiful! We were all together again and ready to better our lives. I went back to school and got a job to support my child and myself. School, work, and being a full time mom was tough. We moved to the beautiful Bitterroot Valley in 2006. I met the most amazing man that loves me. He took on as a father figure to Robert and we had a beautiful baby boy that is now 3. As the years have gone by I have thought to myself that Florence Crittenton was a true blessing for me. I worked to get my GED, and I’m now attending the University of Montana for an Associate’s Degree in Radiology. Robert is now eleven years old and doing great in school as well.
If it wasn’t for Florence Crittenton I really don’t know where I would be right now. I could be living with a family all the way across the country. I really thank Florence Crittenton for what they did for my mother and I.
The activities I am in are the pep club which is the kids/people who help with posters etc. I like to do any sport I can get myself into. Last year and the year before that I got fifth place in wrestling out of the whole state of Montana. Next year I will be a starter in football and basketball.
I love school and I have straight A’s. I look up to my mother in school she is doing just as well as I am. She is the BEST mother a eleven year old could ask for.
My favorite things to do with my family is, going camping at horse creek hot-springs and when we go sledding and road trips.
I have a great relationship with my mom my dad and the best little brother I could ask for. My little brother and I are inseparable. My mom and I are super close and we will never hide anything from each other. I am so thankful to Florence Crittenton.