Ashley suffered significant neglect as a toddler – but then she was adopted into a loving, middle-class family at age two. She thrived until early adolescence… when the effects of her early trauma surfaced.
Feelings of abandonment led to acting out and drugs. By age 15, her desperate family had placed her in a treatment facility. Kicked out, Ashley lived with her boyfriend — who also happened to be her meth supplier.
They would live on and off the streets for two years, until Ashley’s boyfriend went to jail. When she found out she was pregnant, she was living in a tent under a bridge in Thornton.
Wrestling with her addiction, freezing in the middle of December, Ashley decided she couldn’t kick this alone, even for her unborn child. Her family helped her get into rehab again, where she got clean and gave birth to a healthy, beautiful, brown-eyed baby girl named Zaniyah.
While in rehab, Ashley began mending family relationships. Her mom, knowing that loneliness and depression had derailed Ashley before, brought her to Hope House literally on the way home from rehab.
Ashley immediately felt welcome. She began to build healthy friendships with other teen moms and showed up for every program and parenting class she could. She started seeing our counselor and enrolled in our College & Career Program, where she’s receiving support to complete an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
These practical supports are so important – but it’s the relationships that are changing Ashley’s life.
My own relationship with Ashley started with offering her a ride to our Christmas party last year and hearing her story as we drove. We recently grabbed lunch and tried to have “grown-up” time, while Zaniyah threw fistfuls of macaroni and cheese on the floor. Ashley didn’t miss a beat as she wiped Zaniyah’s face, scooped macaroni off the table, and reflected on how full of family and friends her life is now. My heart just soared for her.
This year Hope House will provide 200 teen moms with not only the practical support they need to pursue their education and careers, but also the relationships they need to thrive.
45 new teen moms have found Hope House so far this year. Will you help us raise $40,000 by August 16 so we can empower each one of them? Together, we are transforming the lives of two generations!