June 14, 2013

Seeking Help and Finding Hope – Leah’s Story

Posted in Independence Place, New Horizons Educational Program, Residential tagged , , , , , at 2:04 pm by Lund

When I was 18 and a senior in high school, I became a statistic; a statistic that would affect me for the rest of my life. At age 18 I became one of the 34% of teen girls in the US to become pregnant before age 20.  Shortly after becoming pregnant with my son Ryan, my high school principal informed me that I could not graduate with my class due to excessive absences. Despite the fact that my sporadic attendance was due to hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme morning sickness) and was documented by medical professionals, I was being refused the safety net that a high school diploma ensures. I was discouraged but not completely deterred.  I found Lund, then known as the Lund Family Center (LFC).

"I remained dedicated to the promise I had made my children; to better our lives."

“I remained dedicated to the promise I had made my children; to better our lives.”

It was through Lund that I sought help and found hope. Within 2 days of finding out the devastating news that I could not continue enrollment with my high school, Lund took me in. I became a resident and began receiving many valuable life changing resources. These resources ranged from parenting classes, andlife skills classes, to the New Horizons Education Program. With the assistance of Lund, I finished my high school education on time. I even received my high school diploma and was permitted to walk with my class from my original school.

After giving birth to Ryan, I transitioned to Lund’s Independence Place (IP) Community.  Independence Place is a transitional housing program.   It was here that I found the spirit and encouragement to pursue college. The IP Community gave me a safe and secure place to begin raising my son. The staff members here helped me overcome obstacles, assisted me in locating community resources, and even helped me plan a better future for my family. It was while I lived here that I first began the pursuit of my college education.

My life continued to follow a checkered path and I had two more children over the next 8 years. Yet I was still determined to succeed for the sake of all my boys.  When my third son Davis was only 3 weeks old I began my education at a local university. This is perhaps one of the craziest yet smartest things I have ever decided to do. Although I was alone, fatigued, scared, and overwhelmed I remained dedicated to the promise I had made my children; to better our lives. There were nights in which I received 2 hours of sleep or less, there were days in which I ate absolutely nothing, and there were months in which I had no money to pay our bills and would get multiple shut-off or eviction notices. I somehow remained optimistic though, that if I had made it this far, I could make it the rest of the way drawing on the skills that I had learned during my time at Lund.

I recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and am employed in great job with a company.   It feels good to say that I am now completely self-sufficient and am able to provide for my children.  I am able to model to my children the importance of an education and that all things are possible.   I know I have given my children the courage and determination for a better future.

You can help other women like Leah find hope.  Please support Lund.  Make a donation today.

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