“Miriam” always knew her family wasn’t quite…normal. Her parents divorced when she was young, and her mom was manipulative and unpredictable; she didn’t let her go out much or make friends. So when Miriam turned 18 she was eager to have some freedom. She moved away for college, craving the social experiences she saw her peers having in high school that she’d been protected from: she made friends, she went out at night, and she started dating someone, but she had no idea how to set her own boundaries, and she soon encountered the profound consequences of her riskier choices. In less than a year she had failed all of her classes and dropped out of college, and shortly afterward she found out she was pregnant.
Miriam’s relationship with her family had become strained, but she was still young, and she hoped and assumed she could rely on their help. She was scared, but she knew she wanted to create a healthy life for herself and her daughter. She asked her parents to help her become a good mom and create a self-sufficient life for herself. To Miriam’s shock, just weeks after she gave birth to her daughter, her mom rejected her and kicked her out of her home – throwing all of her belongings in their front yard and telling her she needed to figure it out for herself.
Miriam was desperate. Not sure what else to do, she returned to her daughter’s father, even though he had been abusive. She was so scared of being alone. Being with him came with a price, though – it made her vulnerable to more abuse and placed her in the crossfires of his dangerous decisions. They got evicted from their apartment and ended up spending months at a time in homeless shelters. It wasn’t the life Miriam had wanted for her daughter, but she also had no idea how to create a fresh start.
Then one day a staff person from Second Story came to the shelter and met with Miriam. She told her about the Second Story for Homeless Youth program, and Miriam applied and was accepted. Suddenly, everything changed. Miriam didn’t feel so alone anymore, and she had a group of people eager to help her develop the skills she had been wanting to learn all along – becoming a better parent, saving money, budgeting, and pursuing higher education. Second Story helped her find an apartment, a job, and enroll in college classes.
Miriam graduated from Second Story for Homeless Youth this year. She’s engaged, she is continuing to pursue her college degree, her daughter is doing well, and she’s employed full time. Second Story allowed Miriam to not only pursue a hopeful future, but also create a safe and stable home for herself and her daughter.