Written by Allison Wilson
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“A lot of us who really did have nowhere to go, you know, no family to turn to, we turned to them and they sort of give you the motherly love that you’ve been looking for,” says Shayla Taylor, a young mother assisted by Epworth Children and Family Services. “To gain love and receive love you can pass love. So with the love they pass through me I can pass through my children. Now I can help someone else.”
This month KDHX’s Nonprofit Spotlight shines on families. Epworth offers a wide range of programs to help kids and families who have big hurdles to overcome.
Michelle Meier has worked with Epworth for 11 years, first as a therapist and now as the Director of Community Services.
“We work with children and families with severe emotional behavior issues or homeless youth,” Meier explains. “A lot of the children that come through foster care, they get out of the system at 19 years old, and they don’t necessarily have the skills to be able to live independently on their own. We teach them those skills to be able to make it on their own.”
Epworth also has a Special Education School on the Webster Groves campus which provides classroom instruction for younger kids that need more attention than is available in public school.
Volunteer Barbara Bush supports the school and other programs that Epworth offers by organizing fundraisers and sitting on the board of directors. “We touch 5200 kids and families every year,” she says. “And that’s in multiple ways through all kinds of programs that we offer. One of the reasons we’re put on this earth is to help other people and that is what Epworth does. We try to help from the time children are born to, in some cases, they reach 25 years of age.”
Shayla Taylor and her three children are one of those families. Epworth helped get her off the streets and on a path that leads to higher education and a more stable environment for her and her family.
“I started off homeless, a young teenage mother, really not having a support system, not knowing how to get where I’m going in life,” Taylor says. “Now I know what to do when I’m all on my own. I know how to spend money, how to budget money. I became a stronger person, I became a more independent person, a better mother. I just really learned no matter where life takes you just keep striving for the best, just keep goin’, keep goin’.”
For more information on Epworth Children and Family Services visit epworth.org or call (314) 961-5718.
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