Life is tough for teenage mothers, and nobody knows that better than these women. All five mothers graduated from Forest Klein High School in Houston and are now pursuing their goals for higher education while living at Buckner Family Place in Lufkin, Texas.
Janelle Ruiz , 21
Mother to 3-year-old Jace
Goal: To be a middle school teacher
How has your life changed at Family Place?
“If I hadn’t come here, my life would be very chaotic. Going to school is tough, but it is even more so when you have a child. What keeps me going is that everyone has a lot of faith. They’re offering you help and you want to make them proud. This is an awesome program. I would be lost without it.”
Tiera Brown, 18
Mother to Kalia, 1
Goal: To be a registered nurse and motivational speaker
What are your biggest hopes for Kalia?
“I have so many hopes for her. I want her to live a good and healthy life. I want to take her places I haven’t been, like Disney World. I came to Family Place and made this change for her. I took this opportunity to better her life – to better our life – so she can have and do and be whatever she wants to be.”
DeKendria Johnson, 18
Mother to Sammy, 1
Goal: Not living paycheck to paycheck
How have you changed since starting school?
“I feel like I’ve grown as a person. I have a baby now and it’s time for me to step up. My faith has also grown. The staff here is a big support. They push you to keep going and that plays a big role in your success.”
Jakayla Clark, 19
Mother to 2-year-old Jakorieyan
Goal: To get a master’s degree
Where would you be now if you hadn’t come to Family Place?
“If I wasn’t here I’d be with my mom in Houston, having to work and go to school. This [program] facilitates everything. It also gives me the chance to stay close to my baby; I am just walking distance from the daycare where Jakorieyan stays when I’m at school.”
Ashley Mayo, 19
Mother to 2-year-old Aiyanah
Goal: To work as an OBGYN nurse in Houston
What motivates you to reach for your goal?
“School is hard. Nursing is not a joke. You have to really be dedicated. But my baby pushes me to do more. Every day I look at her and it makes me go to class. I don’t want my baby to want for nothing.”
Buckner Family Place is a self-sufficiency program for single mothers where they receive affordable housing, quality Christian counseling and licensed childcare services to support the difficult task of raising a family and pursuing higher education. In Lufkin, more than __ women have graduated from Family Place since it opened in 1998. Buckner operates similar self-sufficiency programs in Amarillo, Dallas, Lubbock and Midland.
To help support single mothers in their quest for self sufficiency, call 214-758-8050.
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