While many of the participants in our programs acknowledge and appreciate the importance of family, they sometimes find themselves in need of support and guidance to stay on track. That’s when the dedicated staff of Turning Points for Children springs into action. Meet two enthusiastic graduates of our TTT program below:
Jennifer and Crystal have a lot in common. They are both poised and eloquent young women who are attending college classes and holding down jobs. Perhaps their most notable similarity is the fact that, just a few short years ago, they were scared, pregnant teenagers with little hope for the future.
Crystal explains her initial apprehension after being introduced to the Time Out for Teens and Tots™ (TTT) program by a friend:
“I wasn’t open-minded to anything at first,” says Crystal, shaking her head at the memory. “Then I realized that the facilitators and the other girls weren’t there to judge or criticize me, they just wanted to offer their help and suggestions. If I had kept doing things the way that I thought they should be done, I probably would have spanked my daughter to discipline her. Now I know that staying calm and talking out issues is a much more effective way to deal with her behavior.”
Jennifer turned to Time Out for Teens and Tots™ when other options fell short:
“I had gone through other parenting classes, but none of them focused on communication like TTT did.” Jennifer also sings the praises of the career group aspect of the program, saying, “I loved Career Directions. They helped me to get my resume ready and they brought in a lot of great guest speakers, many of whom were TTT participants in the past. I think it was important for us to see that they had gone on to be successful.”
Both Jennifer and Crystal were thrilled when, after successfully completing the program, they were asked by their facilitators to come back as peer mentors. Jennifer feels that peer mentoring is a vital part of the TTT program, “It’s sometimes easier to open up to someone who is close to your age and who you know has been through a lot of the same stuff.”
Crystal says that, as a result of her experiences, she’s started thinking about a future in mentoring or counseling. “I kind of feel like it may be my calling,” she says, beaming.
Below is the story of Ms. B., and grandmother who turned to the FAST program in her time of need:
Ms. B., a 53 year old woman recovering from drug addiction, found herself caring for her two young grandchildren; ages eight and ten. Hoping to provide a more stable life for these children, Ms. B. attempted to file for custody. The petition was denied, however, on the grounds that Ms. B. did not have adequate housing. This news, coupled with the daily struggle to maintain her sobriety, left Ms. B. under a great deal of stress. She also knew that, without custody, her grandchildren’s biological parents could legally take them back at any time to a potentially harmful home environment. It became clear to Ms. B. that she had neither the support nor the resources to handle her situation on her own.
In their time of distress, Ms. B and her family turned to the FAST program. The FAST staff linked Ms. B. to housing assistance, child custody resources and drug and alcohol support programs. She also received encouragement from her peers in the in the parent support group. Ms. B., who acknowledges the FAST program as her “rock”, eventually secured appropriate housing and went on to obtain full legal custody of her grandchildren. A proud graduate of the program, Mrs. B. stated that FAST was there for her in her time of need and “never left her side.” Because of the services Ms. B. and her family received through FAST, the children are now being raised in a stable environment and can focus on their educational development and growth.
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