Student Profile: Cheyenne and Ezekiel
For Cheyenne, an 18-year-old Junior, Florence Crittenton started as a much-needed safe haven when she got pregnant at 16. It has become her community. In 2013, Cheyenne’s mother passed away, and Cheyenne started down a bad path, becoming involved with drugs.
For Cheyenne, an 18-year-old Junior, Florence Crittenton started as a much-needed safe haven when she got pregnant at 16. It has become her community. In 2013, Cheyenne’s mother passed away, and Cheyenne started down a bad path, becoming involved with drugs. Two years later, when she found out she was having a baby, Cheyenne felt like it was a gift from her mother and a push to make a change in her life. Cheyenne decided that she no longer felt safe at her school, especially now that she was pregnant. Some searching on the internet led her to Florence Crittenton, and she enrolled right away. Her son, Ezekiel, is now 20 months old, and he attends the Florence Crittenton Services Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC).
Cheyenne utilizes everything the campus offers: the high school, the ECEC, the Student Family Support Program, and the Alethia E. Morgan, MD Health Center. As a new mother, Cheyenne knew how to change diapers and feed her son, but the emotional mother-child connection wasn’t there. “I didn’t have that with my mom anymore, so I didn’t know how to be a mom emotionally for Ezekiel,” she says. The Florence Crittenton staff helped her make that emotional bond and understand that being a mom is more than diapers and feeding schedules. Cheynne appreciates the legal advice about child support and custody and immigration policies that the Student and Family Support Program provides through the monthly Legal Clinic. She loves the teachers and how willing they are to accommodate students’ different schedules and home lives. The Alethia E. Morgan, MD Health Clinic helps Cheyenne to juggle medical appointments with her busy life. “It’s better that I don’t have to drive to the hospital when I need to take myself or my baby there,” she says. “The convenience is really great.” On months when money is a little tighter, she uses attendance awards to get diapers for Ezekiel in Baby Bucks, the basic needs store, and she loves being able to donate clothes that Ezekiel has outgrown to the store.
This summer, Cheyenne is enrolled in summer school to earn additional credit to graduate in 2018. She looks forward to one class in particular every day—art. During the school year, Cheyenne took art therapy class, and she loved it. “It destressed me a lot, because I have a stressful life at home. Before I had the art therapy program, I’d go home and be stressed out and get agitated with my family, and I didn’t want that,” she remembers. “Instead of taking gym, I took art. Ever since then, I’m more relaxed when I go home. Painting in general calms your soul.” To keep that stress at bay over the summer, Cheyenne signed up for summer art class. Once summer school ends, she is excited to participate in summer programs, especially the rock climbing field trip. Meanwhile, Ezekiel spends his summer mornings and afternoons at the ECEC, playing with his friends, keeping the same routines, and eating the same healthy meals that he did during the school year. With no break in those routines, Ezekiel is happier, and life at home is easier for Cheyenne, and she is thankful for that. Both of them will participate in mother and child summer programs, too, like visits to Denver’s museums and days at the pool.
Cheyenne is excited to graduate next year, but will also miss Florence Crittenton Services. “They’ve always treated me really well,” she says. “It’s like I’m meant to be here.”