Growing up, Stephanie has faced many mountains and survived unimaginable circumstances. She was put into foster care at a young age after her mother gave up on fighting for her, she was abused in several different foster homes, and eventually was kicked out of high school. At the age of 16, Stephanie began using the services Outreach had available to her to help her receive her GED. Unfortunately, due to lack of participation, Outreach had to terminate our GED program and had to look for outside resources to help the youth wanting to gain this diploma. Stephanie was disappointed in the closing of this program, but had found a community within Outreach’s programming and became an active member in other programs Outreach offered.
We wish that that was the end of the struggles she faced, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. Over the next several years Stephanie would experience abuse from a boyfriend, unstable living arrangements where she was at risk of being kicked out by landlords, and having to give up 2 children to the foster care system who were later adopted into another family. Throughout all of these struggles, Stephanie sought comfort and peace at Outreach. She was loved on by the staff and volunteers she met here, and life transformation began to take place.
Over the last two years, Stephanie faced her many struggles with courage and remarkable strength which resulted in some significant life-altering changes. Stephanie credits this success to the support and help of the ladies she met through Ladies Night, which is a program focused specifically on helping female Outreach youth see life transformation. This small group of ladies, which currently meets weekly on Tuesday nights, has brought her closer to other young women who are going through or have been through similar situations that she faced when she was younger. They have become an amazing support system for each other, especially when it comes to raising their children. These young ladies are there for one another offering advice, resources, and a listening ear when things get hard. Stephanie gets the opportunity to talk with other young ladies going through the same fight she went through, for her children and encouraging them to stay strong. She wants to help them become the best mothers they can be and to help them find the resources to parent their children well.
Stephanie has also built many trusted and nurturing relationships with the Ladies Night volunteers. This last year, she became pregnant again and turned to these amazing volunteers to help her prepare for the baby. The volunteers and the case managers at Outreach walked with her through her choices to quit smoking, get involved in parenting classes, and leave a destructive relationship. Having this community of people surrounding her has made a huge difference in this pregnancy. Her beloved and treasured Ladies Night volunteers were able to visit and meet her son as soon as he was born.
Stephanie is now living in a stable home with her son, and she has obtained all the necessary supplies for her baby through the completion of her parenting classes. Stephanie has made many healthy and difficult choices to give her son the best life possible, including leaving her relationship with her abuser. The transformation in her life is a remarkable testimony of a courageous woman.
In November of 2016, Stephanie aged out of Outreach’s programming but has stayed involved as a mentor at Ladies Night. She wants other young ladies coming into Outreach to feel welcome, comfortable, and well resourced. Stephanie is excited to continue to be a part of Outreach and to now walk alongside youth who have had similar experiences she has. Outreach is where she found love and acceptance, and she is excited to help others find that here, too.