Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Octavia's Story

Octavia is a client in our Assisting Young Mothers program (AYM). Below in her own words she tells you part of her story.

Good morning! My name is Octavia and I have a son named AJ who is almost four months old. I have lived in the AYM program for five months.

When I was younger, I always wanted to be independent and wanted to see what it would be like to be on my own. But, when I got pregnant, I knew that it was really time to take matters into my own hands. I knew that I needed to learn how to be independent now because I was going to have to take care of a child soon. During this time, I was homeless. My child’s father didn’t want to help. I have family, but they are spread out across the state and busy taking care of their own things. It was important to me that I get to keep and live with my son. I began calling shelters and searching the internet for a better option and I found AYM.

While in AYM, I am working on many different life skills that will help me to become independent and will improve mine and AJ’s future. Before I had AJ, I didn’t know how tired and unmotivated I would be; but being in AYM has really helped me to figure out what my game plan is going to be. During the past five months, I have kept my job and learned how to better improve my situation. One of the biggest changes I’ve made since coming to AYM is doing what I need to do to get what I need for me and my son. Before coming to AYM, I was a big procrastinator. But now I make sure that I am at work on time, working hard to keep my job, scheduling important appointments, and keeping those appointments.

I’ve also been working on building a savings account. The AYM program requires you to save a certain portion of each paycheck. At first, I thought “wow, that’s really a lot of money.” But now I’m glad that I have money saved up.

After having AJ, I’ve learned that you have to live your life differently once you have a child. I’ve learned that you don’t need to have friends over all the time or stay out late. I’ve learned that being in my house at an appropriate time for my child will make tomorrow morning easier for both of us.

In AYM, we all attend a Parenting Group once a week. I think that some young parents really want to do a good job but they don’t know how to. During this group we learn important skills for taking care of our children that we wouldn’t otherwise know, such as appropriate discipline and the importance of reading to your kids.

Having a child is a big responsibility; you have to make a plan for yourself and your child. You need to stay focused on what is important and not what other people are doing. When I first came into the AYM program, I struggled with my priorities; I wasn’t taking full advantage of AYM and I wasn’t pushing myself to do better. Since then, my focus is different. I’m using AYM as a stepping stone to a better future. Being in AYM can be challenging and there are a lot of rules and restrictions to follow; but I’ve seen that if I’m willing to put in the effort, that I can set goals and achieve them.

When people find out that I’m 19 and have a son, they usually say “that sucks.” But when I look at AJ I see our future. I’ve found a stronger sense of faith through my son. I know that I still need to learn a lot and I plan to grow with AJ as he grows. Like I said in the beginning of my speech, becoming independent is something that has been a goal in my life for a long time; but after having AJ, that goal has become much more meaningful. AYM is helping me learn to be independent so that I can have the life I want for me and my son.

Thank you.

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