Alumna Profile: Kelly
When she was nine years old, Kelly was taken away from her mother, who had drug addiction issues and an abusive boyfriend. For the next several years Kelly bounced from one foster family to another before becoming pregnant at 16…
When she was nine years old, Kelly was taken away from her mother, who had drug addiction issues and an abusive boyfriend. For the next several years Kelly bounced from one foster family to another before becoming pregnant at 16 years old while living in a group home. “I didn’t mean to get pregnant”, she remarks. “But when I found out, I was actually happy that I finally had someone who wouldn’t leave me like everyone else did. My daughter saved me.”
Kelly was forced to move to another foster home in Green Valley Ranch and transferred to a nearby high school. “It was bad”, she remembers. “I got maced when security guards broke up fights near me, I was slammed into a fence. It wasn’t safe for me or the baby.” A teen pregnancy advocate took Kelly to tour Florence Crittenton, and two days later, she enrolled.
Though her two and half hour commute from Green Valley Ranch was strenuous, Kelly was determined. “I finally found stability and security at Florence Crittenton. And that made the commute worth every minute.”
Kelly was able to keep on track with her schoolwork even during maternity leave. “Sometimes I didn’t feel like doing my homework, but the homebound teacher was constantly following up with me, never letting me fall behind.” Thanks to the support she received from the teachers and staff at Florence Crittenton, Kelly went from never attending class to a straight-A student.
After six weeks of maternity leave, Kelly returned to school with her daughter, Jayleen, who attended the Early Childhood Education Center. “I knew that my daughter was being well taken care of. I was shocked at how much she learned, even as an 8-week old infant.” Having childcare on site meant that Kelly didn’t have to place her daughter’s father on child support, which would have created “a whole other mess I couldn’t deal with.”
Kelly attributes her ability to keep her child to the support she received at Florence Crittenton. The foster home where she lived wanted to open a case for her daughter and make her a foster child as well. “I had to make sure I was on top of everything, I had to show that I could support my daughter.” The on-site basic needs store, Baby Bucks, gave Kelly the support she needed. “I never had to worry about diapers, clothes, or even food,” she says. “I was able to get everything I needed by attending school and earning Baby Bucks.”
When Kelly graduated in 2015, she moved back with her mother after nine years of separation. She spent a year working to save money. In 2016, she enrolled at Community College of Denver with a major in nursing. “I want to be financially stable so I can provide for all of my daughter’s needs and wants,” she proclaims.
Now 19 years old, Kelly looks back at her time at Florence Crittenton with great fondness. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without Florence Crittenton. You can’t find that kind of compassion and support anywhere else.”