Our clients are brave, real young women. They are often at-risk and system-involved, yet they strive to be bold and strong, to break the cycle. Here are their stories:
“Florence Crittenton Programs assists single mothers with the necessities they need to successfully raise healthy babies while empowering the mothers by helping them to get on their feet with mentoring programs, employment assistance, housing, etc. They are located at 19 St. Margaret St. Downtown Charleston.
How many of us know that those who truly appreciate success have learned along the way to appreciate the struggle? Why?…because it makes us stronger individuals. Frederick Douglass said it best and most simplistically.
I personally decided to choose Florence Crittenton Programs to give back to because I was participant of the program in 2010. I was in a position where I knew I needed help and a slight push in the right direction that family was unable to give me. I am forever grateful for the financial guidance, housing, and mentoring assistance they provided for my (then) baby and I. Now, I am not only a successful (success=happiness) single mother but I am living my dream. For me to be sitting in front of their building 6 years later about to walk in and make a donation to help other single mothers makes my heart smile big time.
I feel that our lives are continuous tests to see if we are ready for the next level of our divine destiny. Every year, there are little things that make me look back at where I was the prior year and I see so much progress. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m in a better position than I was last year and I am so grateful for that. If we treat our lives like a staircase, moving from step to step in a higher direction every year, there’s no way we can go wrong. Let us continue to be a blessing to one another, remain humble, and stay grateful for even the little things.”
“I became a student at Florence Crittenton Day Program in August of 1988 at the tender age of 14. Arriving at Florence Crittenton was the biggest reality check of my life. At that moment I realized the severity of my situation and that my life would forever be impacted. The staff at Florence Crittenton and supportive family members made my transition into motherhood as smooth as could be expected at such a young age. FCP was instrumental in making me the woman and mother that I am today. They equipped me with the necessary skills and education to be able to care for my baby although I was still a “baby” myself. At present day, I am now a mother of three sons, ages 24, 22 and 19. My eldest son is now a graduate of SCSU and a Civil Engineer, my middle son is a Certified Welder and a truck driving student and my youngest son is a National Guard Army reservist and a student at Lander University. Throughout my years of trials, tribulations and raising three sons, I managed to obtain my Associates in Graphic Design and Photography from Trident Technical College. I am now pursuing my Bachelors in Healthcare Administration from Limestone College. I am and will forever be eternally grateful to FCP for giving me the proper training and new lease on life. In closing, I am proud to say that I am not a grandmother and have broken the cycle of teenage pregnancy through my three sons. Thank you once again to the past, present and future staff members of Florence Crittenton Programs for being a blessing and an inspiration to young girls in need.” –Camilla Keyes
“If anyone ever asked me what Florence Crittenton of Charleston, SC means to me I honestly could answer saying it has changed my life for the better. The program was open for me when I had no where else to go.. The program gave me the materials to finish school, prepare for my child, also to grow as a person and as a parent. I look back and i am so grateful for the classes that they gave us to take, like the parenting classes, the career counseling, birthing classes and so many more! I don’t know what i would of done without the clothes, diapers, and other things i need for my son, that i earned at FCP. My son is now 6 months old and i still have plenty of clothes for him. Also FCP gave me more than just a place to stay and the opportunity to become a better person, but FCP also gave me life long friends that were going threw the same thing i was at the same time, and are still going threw those struggles. To this day i still talk to some of the girls i was in fcp with and some staff members.. I don’t know what i would of ever done without Florence Crittenton. FCP Changed my life and I am a better person because of it, and a better parent.” – Jessica Tomasello
There are some things in our past
That are hidden
Some things that are not always revealed
Secrets that are so shameful
Never to be spoken of
Secrets we rather keep concealed
“My name is Rukaiyah Williams, and I remember when I arrived at Florence Crittenton at the age of 16. It was on a cold winter day back in 1995. My life was already filled with so many secrets, resentment, bitterness and anger. I hated my life and my very own existence. Back then my parents were ministers in the Church, so my pregnancy was a dishonor and brought shame against my family. Consequently, I was expected to give my baby up for adoption, but that is not what I wanted to do. I loved my unborn baby with everything that was within me. At that time he was the only person I felt who genuinely loved me for me, and I was determined I was not going to let anyone just take him away. In the beginning I did not know who I could trust, so initially I was a difficult resident. I would pick fights with some of the girls, talk back to the staff, and just made things difficult in general. Thankfully the staff did not give up on me. My social worker, Ms. Hodo was able to empathize and see pass my failures and mistakes. She and other staff members would always tell me that I had great potential in spite of and challenge me to do better. Slowly I allowed the walls I had built up to come down. Before I knew it, I began applying myself and taking advantage of all the benefits the resident home offered such as education, group & individual counseling, life applications, goal settings, and more. I wanted to become a better person, and be the best mother to my baby, so I began to strive for excellence in my studies, and in the home. In my last trimester, I became the Lamaze coach for the younger class, and things appeared to finally be on the right track.
On June 6, 1995, I delivered a beautiful baby boy who was diagnosed with meconium aspiration. His condition was so fatal, hours later he had to be placed on the Ecmo machine. The doctors were frantic and were not sure if my baby was going to live. I was faced with the fear of losing my baby all over again. Every pain, hurt and rejection I had ever experienced up to that point wanted to erupt, but the counseling I received at Florence Crittenton taught me how to cope. My son’s illness brought my family and I closer and ultimately began the healing process. Antonio Demetrius Forrest, Jr was the 86th survivor on the Ecmo machine. Today he is healthy, active in sports, and an inspired musician.
I am forever grateful for my experience at the Florence Crittenton Home of SC. What I thought was meant for shame and disgrace, actually was for my good and blessed me beyond measures. Being a resident at Florence Crittenton gave me the tools I needed to be the best mother to my son and transformed me into the successful person I am today.” –Rukaiyah Williams
“My name is Kelisha Arnold. I’m 21 years old and I stayed with Florence Crittenton June 2012-August 2012 and although it wasn’t that long I appreciated the services and help given to me. They opened up their doors to me when I had nowhere else to go. They fed me, gave me educational classes on child birth and parenting. Also while there I met a lot of females that were going through the same thing as me and it brought us closer. I received so much clothing for my baby while there he still hasn’t worn them all yet and he is four months old. The staff there was friendly and guided me in the right directions. I appreciate them. I am very thankful for Florence Crittenton, I don’t know what I would have done without them and I would most definitely recommend this place to a young female who is pregnant and is in need of a place to go.” -Kelisha Arnold