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Alumna Profile: Rebecca Goerner

My name is Rebecca, and I graduated with the Class of 2018. I was 17 years old when I got pregnant, and I am 20 now. My daughter, Aeron, is 2.5 years old. I honestly do not remember how…

March 13, 2019

My name is Rebecca, and I graduated with the Class of 2018. I was 17 years old when I got pregnant, and I am 20 now. My daughter, Aeron, is 2.5 years old.

I honestly do not remember how I felt when I found out that I was pregnant. All the feelings I had at that point mushed together and just left me feeling kind of numb. I was scared of what my parents would think, what his parents would think, what this meant for my future in education, and many more things. I was also exited though to have a child and I knew my daughter’s dad would be supportive of the pregnancy.

I was on the brink of being a teen mom. I found out I was pregnant in January 2016 when 17 years old and was set to graduate on May 28,, 2016. I ended up dropping out about 3 months into my pregnancy after being blessed with round the clock “morning” sickness until I was about seven months. I welcomed my daughter about six weeks after my 18th birthday. Being a teen mom was hard in many ways. I was used to quite a bit of freedom before I became a mother, however most of my friends went away for college about three weeks before I had my daughter, so the social aspect wasn’t horrible. I had way different financial priorities that I had to own up to when my daughter came. Overall, I believe the hardest part of being a teen parent is taking on the role of being an adult and the financial burden that comes with it and a child.

I was a stay at home mom for seven months while my daughter’s dad went to work and then decided to go back to work full time. Later that summer my ex-husband lost his job and in August I began school at Florence Crittenton. About three months later I was going through a separation, going to school full time, single parenting part time, and working full time. There are a lot of stigmas around teen parents actually being the ones to provide for their children and give them what they need, and I have worked tirelessly to make sure we are not falling into that category. Although it is difficult at 20, I work two jobs and now am a single parent full time. My daughter is gone at school about 45 hours a week while I work and is with sitters on the weekends. It is hard to give up the life that you pictured for yourself when you become a teen parent but I am very happy to be where I am now.

I lived a much different life before I got pregnant. I was a level 8 gymnast and had been coaching at my home gym for 2.5 years by the time I turned 17. I went to Denver School of the Arts from sixth grade to ninth grade for Stagecraft and Design and then went to Denver East High School in 10th grade. I then got into an almost two-year relationship that came with drugs, parties, and abuse. By the time the middle of my junior year had come, I had been placed in an alternative school—my fifth high school. Three months later, I left that relationship and soon after met my daughter’s dad. I was not excelling in school, home, or work. I had a lot of family trouble,mostly cause by my own actions. I did not feel like I could find my purpose in life or a reason for life until I had my daughter.

I found Florence Crittenton a number of different ways. Doctors, counselors, and even our amazing nurse from Nurse Family Partnership, Kirsten Johnson, recommended the school for me. The high school I was at when I found out I was pregnant took us to all kinds of classes through the Mamahood and it was there that I was really convinced to go and check it out.

My experience at Florence Crittenton is almost ineffable to me, in the sense that I never believed that I would love a high school. I’d like to just start with my experience at the high school itself. The staff is incredible and it shows that their true purpose is to help us succeed in not only our education, but our lives. I’ve never had teachers who took such a personal interest in their students’ lives and were actually able to motivate me to come to school. Everyone in the school from the teachers, to the administrative staff, to the counselors, and family advocates, all the way to the janitorial staff, cared; and they made sure to let you know. They helped me to become a better student, person, and mother. Before I came to the school, my overall GPA was 1.25. I graduated from Florence Crittenton in May 2018 on the Principal’s Honor Roll with a 3.9 GPA. I believe that speaks for itself.

I have so much appreciation for the Florence Crittenton Services and everything they do for their students. When I was there (accompanied with good attendance, of course) I never had to pay for diapers or wipes once. They 100% make sure that you and your child have what you need from diapers, to formula, to gas vouchers. They never ceased to help me in a moment in need. The Christmas of 2017 I was going through a separation and adjusting to living back with my parents, and, being new to Florence Crittenton, didn’t know about their Holiday Giving program. I cried that night, because through a hard time they came through and gave us a Christmas we wouldn’t have had without them.

I believe one of the biggest helps Florence Crittenton Services provides is the Legal Clinic. A lot of moms are seeking custody, child support, or basic family law help and couldn’t afford a lawyer or even to sit with one. This gives them the real opportunity to be able to get the help they need without a giant bill. I am thankful for that because without the legal clinic, I would not have met my lawyer who has helped me deal with family law for the past year.

And lastly, I’d like to say how wonderful the ECE Center is. Elyse, the former Director of the ECE Center, was incredible at making not only the babies feel loved, but the moms too. The ECE Center staff is so wonderful at helping the moms take it slow when they are bringing their child to childcare for the first time. The teachers are excellent and care so much about both the mom and their kid(s). I thought it was amazing the accommodations made for breastfeeding moms as I breastfed my daughter for 19 months. They would give you a buzzer so you could come nurse, provided a clean and private space to pump, and a place to store your milk. I am so thankful to the ECE Center as my daughter thrived off the educations given to her there. Without FloCrit, I would not have graduated high school and I don’t think my daughter would be in the kind of school she is now without them. I will never be more thankful or indebted to any other place. Florence Crittenton gave my daughter and I the resources and confidence that we can do this. I think most of that came from one person. They knew my intentions weren’t to go to college so they helped push me in other strong directions to build a career. Most of the preparing for real life I contribute to the school nurse, Maegan Singleton. She had been in my shoes and it was a wonderful experience having her as my advocate. The career fair was amazing as well, as it opened up my horizons to a lot of programs that would actually be ideal for a young mother.

Aeron turned 3 on September 9, 2019. She attends Clayton where she is now in preschool and absolutely thriving. In the spring of 2019, I made a big decision to go back to school full time. When I started school I was working two jobs that I had since graduating (KTS BBQ and Dardano’s School of Gymnastics). It was going to the a huge challenge to balance both jobs, school, while still making my daughter my top priority. Thanks to my amazing parents I was able to start going back to school. I go to school 7:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. I am a student at Lincoln College of Technology, Denver in the welding program. I started August 5 and am due to graduate as a certified welder at the end of March 2020.
I left my job at the BBQ in late October to have better time management and more time with my Aeron, but still keep my job as a gymnastics coach. I recently have picked up a job with my the company of my boss’ husband and can work a flexible schedule from home.
Aeron has also started gymnastics at the gym I was a gymnast at (from 2-16) and that I now work at. She is becoming a very intelligent little girl and I am very proud of her, and she’s proud of herself, too! She can now write her name and has started identifying letters and sounding them out while reading.
Life is very busy with school but the hope is when school is over I will have a great steady job and will be able to be with my daughter every morning and pick her up from school every evening.