Student Profile: Danessa and Nasiah
At 15, Danessa got pregnant and her whole life changed. She saw the two lines on the pregnancy test, started crying, looked at herself in the bathroom mirror, and said to herself, “This is real. This is happening.” That moment…
At 15, Danessa got pregnant and her whole life changed. She saw the two lines on the pregnancy test, started crying, looked at herself in the bathroom mirror, and said to herself, “This is real. This is happening.” That moment was a wake-up call for Danessa. She had never wanted kids. She was living with her grandmother and great-grandfather. They were homeless, moving from motel to motel. Her mother was in and out of her life, and not a good role model. She had dropped out of school. “I was drinking and partying. I was defiant and selfish,” says Danessa. Getting pregnant was the catalyst Danessa needed to make a change. “I had examples of what I didn’t want to be like. I want to be nothing like my mom,” she says. “I want to be the start of a new generation where we graduate and live a successful life. Getting the pregnancy test was like, it’s time now.” Luckily, her grandmother was there for her. She talked to Danessa’s unborn baby, helped her get to doctor’s appointments, convinced her to come to Florence Crittenton Services, and has kept her motivated.
Danessa toured Florence Crittenton and really liked it. She’s found support in her family advocate Susan, who gives her advice and talks to her when she needs a shoulder to lean on. She helps Danessa with emergency diapers, wipes, and clothes, too. Danessa came to Florence Crittenton pregnant, and took eight weeks maternity leave when she had her son, Nasiah. “When I was on maternity leave, the school came to me. Christine and Ms. Braxton would come over and check up on me and bring diapers,” remembers Danessa. “They helped me keep up with my school work and reminded me to take care of myself.” Nasiah is now 5 months old. He is an outgoing, rambunctious baby who knows what he wants and likes. He loves his ECE Center classroom, and Danessa has seen changes in him in just the few months he has been attending. “He’s been babbling more,” she smiles. “He’s really social now. He laughs at strange people when they come up to him.”
Danessa is now 16. She has matured a lot in the last year. “I can’t think about just me,” she says. “I have to think about what we [me and my son] are doing today, what we are wearing. I have to step it up.” She will graduate in 2020 and has plans to go to college to be a pediatrician one day. She’s motivated by her grandmother and her son and is not satisfied with just sitting at home. “I’ve been told I have a lot of potential. I don’t want it all to go down the drain. I want to show people that I’m not a statistic. I want to prove people wrong,” Danessa says with determination. “I want to show people that this program helps out moms like me who want to succeed with their babies.” Danessa will be the first person in her family to graduate from high school and go to college. She has goals now and can see a future, which wasn’t the case when she was younger. “I feel like I can do anything now,” she says. “Thanks to Florence Crittenton, I get to do something great for my baby.”