I was 16 and pregnant when I was sent to Florence Crittenton 9 years ago. I had had a really difficult childhood, my parents didn’t really care about me and I had been in several foster homes and group homes. I ended up staying until my daughters 3rd birthday and looking back I am so grateful I had that opportunity.
When I first arrived I was angry and scared. It is hard to be sent away from everything you know when you are pregnant. Fairly quickly though I made bonds with the other girls in the program and we connected on a different level. The staff were awesome. They taught us how to be parents and basic things like how to make homemade, healthy food and how to keep a house. They taught us everything we needed to know about pregnancy and parenting which is important when you haven’t had a good childhood yourself.
Most importantly they taught us that when things are tough you can get through it. After being so scared and nervous at first I started to feel more relaxed as I realized I was developing the family I was never given. I felt like I was given a fresh start.
While I was at Florence Crittenton I went to school and also learnt construction through the Youth Build program. I am now studying Criminal Justice at Helena College, taking EMT classes, working at Safeway to support myself and am a volunteer firefighter.
I am determined to be financially stable and to have a career that I want so I can give my family opportunities in the future that I never had.
I have been single now for 2 years because I am waiting for someone special.
After having such a rough childhood I knew the odds were against me. I had been told my whole life that I wouldn’t become anything. I am determined to succeed and be different. Florence Crittenton made me feel like I had a second chance and that I can accomplish everything. Everyone deserves that chance.
Earlier this year I made a very difficult choice to make a loving adoption plan for my daughter Kristina. I realized with everything I had to do with my studies to be able to make it on my own I wouldn’t be able to provide the life that she deserves. A loving friend of mine who lives in Kalispell who is older and more financially stable offered to adopt Kristina. She has a wonderful life, she has excellent grades in school, participates in basketball and cheerleading and is happy and safe and loved. It was a super hard decision to make but I knew the life that I wanted for her and that I couldn’t provide her with the opportunities she deserved. I talk to her on the phone twice a week and visit every other month and we have a great relationship.
I have 3 more years left in college and then hope to move on to a law degree. My teachers say I am doing great and that I am their favorite student. Having come from a life where my parents didn’t care about me, where my step father abused me from age 3-13 and who was a drug dealer I am determined to beat the odds. Florence Crittenton helped me realize that I do not need to let my past define my future. They are a big family of supporters that will be with you throughout life. You make lifelong friends and learn things you never knew before. They say life is a gamble, this is the best gamble I could ever have taken in my life.