“St. Anne’s changed my life.”
Jennifer and her baby, Jayden, were struggling. “I had no home, no job, no car,” she recalls. “And when you are a first-time parent, you don’t know what is good or bad for the baby.” Jennifer and Jayden faced a potentially heartbreaking future. But through St. Anne’s Transitional Housing Program, Jennifer turned her life around. Now, she and Jayden embody St. Anne’s vision statement: “Thriving Families. Brighter Futures.”
Once, Jennifer’s prospects were dim. “My parents kicked me out because I had a child when I was a teenager,” says Jennifer. “My mom thought she was teaching me to be responsible, but it was very harsh.” Jennifer slept on friends’ couches with Jayden and desperately tried to provide for her son. By age 19, she had completed an early childhood core certificate in community college. She went to St. Anne’s to apply for a job in the Early Learning Center but was disappointed to learn that she needed an associate’s degree. While at St. Anne’s, she found out about the Transitional Housing Program for homeless mothers age 18 and older. Mothers like her.
Jennifer was very relieved when her application to St. Anne’s was approved. “I didn’t have to ask ‘Where will we sleep today? Do I have to go to a shelter?’” Jennifer says. With Jayden enrolled in St. Anne’s Early Learning Center, Jennifer quickly found a full-time job at a multi-state dental company, where she rose from receptionist to business manager.
After nine months at St. Anne’s, Jennifer moved into her own apartment. Now, she attends college part-time and is finishing a bachelor’s degree in sociology at a top university. Jayden, who attended the Early Learning Center until age 5, is a successful student in a math-science magnet elementary school. “If St. Anne’s had not happened, I don’t think I could have gone to school, have a job, an apartment, my own car,” Jennifer says. “None of those things would have happened without St. Anne’s.”