Student Profile: Julie and Liam
“It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it.” That’s 17-year-old Julie’s motto when it comes to fashion and thrifting amazing clothing. It is also how she lives her life as a young mother. Julie wears motherhood…
“It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it.” That’s 17-year-old Julie’s motto when it comes to fashion and thrifting amazing clothing. It is also how she lives her life as a young mother. Julie wears motherhood as a part of herself; something she is proud of, and that has made her into the young woman she is today. When asked about her 14-month-old son Liam, her voice swells with pride and her smile widens. “He’s really sweet and very wild and curious. He likes observing a lot and repeating what others do,” she says. “He’s very curious to see how far he can go.”
Julie, Class of 2020, got pregnant at 14. “I didn’t know what to think, what to do,” she remembers. “I didn’t know how to tell my parents. I didn’t know the words to put it in.” Julie was a busy student—always in school, playing sports, spending time with her friends. She hardly had time to process being pregnant. Julie was nervous to tell her parents. While they were very close, her family had an idea of where Julie’s life would go, and being a young mom wasn’t part of that plan. When Julie did tell her parents, they were very supportive. “They said that everything happens for a reason,” she says, “and that they were going to support me through everything.” Julie’s parents have continued to be there for her throughout her journey as a teen mother. They have helped her get to school. Her father toured Florence Crittenton Services with her. Her mother gives her tips on how to be a good mom.
During the early months of Julie’s pregnancy, she moved out of her parents’ home in Aurora and in with her baby’s father in Denver. She transferred to a school closer to his house. When Julie realized that she needed to move back in with her parents, she continued at her new school in Denver. The commute to school was now long. Julie often missed classes because she was sick. Her guidance counselor suggested she take a tour of Florence Crittenton Services. Julie loved it immediately. Her father wasn’t as convinced. This commute would still be long every day from Aurora to the campus in Denver. What would motivate Julie to come every day to this school? It was the community that Julie saw during her tour that made her sure her attendance would be good. “I felt like being with new moms close to my age was going to help me with the process of being a mom.” So Julie enrolled in the Fall of 2017.
When Julie started at FloCrit, she was pregnant with Liam. She took the prenatal parenting class, which taught her what to expect throughout her pregnancy and during the birth of her son. She went to the on-site school-based health center to receive all her prenatal care. “It was way easier because I’m all the way in Aurora, and my clinic is also far,” says Julie. “So I would miss school if I had to go to my clinic.” After Julie had Liam, she took six weeks of maternity leave. FloCrit’s homebound teacher Elizabeth Braxton visited her at home. She brought school work so Julie could stay caught up, and supported her as a new mom.
Julie’s main goal since coming to FloCrit has been to graduate, and she is very close to achieving that. She is will graduate this December, a semester early from her intended graduation date. She attributes this to the hard work she has put in, and the support she has gotten at FloCrit. The transportation assistance has been invaluable. The diapers, wipes, and clothing she gets for Liam with attendance awards in the basic needs store have lifted some of the financial burden from Julie and her family’s shoulders. Julie has connected with her teachers and staff and values their support. “I really trust my teachers,” she says. “They’re there for me.”
Thanks to FloCrit, Julie and Liam are prepared for life after graduation. Liam has been in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Center his whole life. Julie knows that the structure of his classrooms here has prepared him for school in the future. She loves how much Liam has learned here. She depends on his teachers to help her teach Liam things and share with her how she can continue that education at home. At the end of each day, Julie talks to Liam’s teachers. “I spend a couple of minutes to see how his day went. If he learned something new, we can try it at home.” Julie feels prepare to find a good preschool for Liam after she graduates, one where he can continue to learn and grow. “That’s what I like about FloCrit—on both sides, they teach you very valuable things, like life lessons,” she says confidently. “So when I do graduate, when we do have to be a little bit more independent, we have that experience.”
As for herself, Julie aspires to be an accountant. Thanks to FloCrit, she has already built up a resumé. She had an internship at PCs for People in the customer services department through FloCrit’s summer internship program. As Student Council President, she worked hard to give a voice to all of the moms at FloCrit. Academic Counselor Megan Taylor has been working with Julie to plan her next steps. “I have lots of support. I’ve made lots of connections here,” says Julie. Now, Julie is applying for Community College of Denver (CCD) and finding a preschool for Liam near campus. She hopes to get her Associate’s at CCD and then work to get her Bachelor’s in Accounting.
Julie describes herself as ambitious, courageous, and creative, and she wears those traits proudly. “I really want what’s best for myself, and I keep trying. I try to push myself to get to where I want to be,” she says. “I’m not afraid of trying new things and opening my circle. When something doesn’t work for me, I like finding new ways to do it.” Motherhood has kept Julie on a good path, the one she wanted for herself, and FloCrit has been a part of that. “FloCrit has helped me by taking care of my needs, providing entertainment like after school activities, and when things are not going as great, I have friends, teachers, and community,” she smiles.