Over the past year, your donations enabled Epworth to serve 155 older youth in the Supportive Housing Program, helping them move toward self-sufficiency. This is the story of how your support gave a young girl courage and hope to make a better life for herself and her children.
“On the way to the hospital, I drifted in and out of consciousness. Did this really just happen?? Did I really just get shot??? I think I was in shock and so worried about my unborn baby. I remember thinking about my other two children at home and my life quickly flashed before my eyes before I slipped into a coma.”
Courtney’s childhood was wrought with turmoil. When she was little, her mother was using and dealing cocaine and her father was nowhere to be found. She remembers the police breaking down their door one night to remove her and her brother from their unsafe home. They were taken into foster care that evening and stayed with various foster parents and relatives over the next several years.
At age 11, Courtney moved back with her mother who had gotten clean. Courtney thought she finally had a stable home with her sober mother and step-father. Things like her step-father helping her with her homework made her feel like they had a “normal” family.
At age 14, things started to unravel for Courtney when her mother and step-father divorced. By age 16, Courtney had given birth to her first child and by age 17 she had dropped out of high school and was working at a restaurant. She was 19 years old and pregnant the night she and her boyfriend went to the gas station and were approached by three men.
“I remember waking up in the hospital and instantly thinking of my children and wondering if they were okay. I couldn’t believe it when they told me I had been in a coma for seven weeks.”
Courtney gave birth to a healthy baby a month later and went to her mother’s home to recover, but the situation quickly became unbearable and Courtney feared that her boys would grow up in the same chaotic environment that she experienced. That is when Courtney reached out to Epworth Children & Family Services and was accepted into the Supportive Housing Program.
Courtney was provided a safe apartment, support for rent and assistance with food and utilities. Courtney was also provided with a caring case manager, Diana, to guide and teach her the things she had not learned at home. Courtney refers to Diana as her “angel” that helped her budget and shop for food, find childcare so that she could work full-time, but most importantly, listened to her and helped her talk through each challenge that came her way. As Courtney experienced stability in her life, she began to excel at work and was promoted to manager.
Because of the generosity of people like you, Courtney just graduated from Epworth’s Supportive Housing Program and is living in her own apartment, working full-time and going back to school to finish her diploma, and most importantly, providing a safe, secure and stable home for her children.
“I feel blessed to have been in Epworth’s program. Epworth helped me find motivation to succeed and to not give up, and taught me to be patient.”
Now that Courtney has graduated from the program, there is a space open for the next young person that needs your help. If you would like to make a donation to help older youth move toward self-sufficiency and independence, your tax-deductible donation to Epworth can be made by mail or securely online through our website.
Michelle D. Tucker
Chief Executive Officer
P.S. The mission of helping those who can’t stand on their own is not over. Because of donors like you, families transition from chaos to self-sufficiency. When you give to Epworth, you are investing in people like Courtney and supporting them in their journey toward independence.