By Zoila | To find a safe place to stay http://bit.ly/CovenantHouseShelters If there’s not a Covenant House near you, call the National Runaway Hotline 1-800-786-2929 to get help | Subscribe: http://bit.ly/sub2storybooth | Ready to “wear it out loud?” Merch store open, SHOP NOW: http://bit.ly/storybooth-merch | Subscribe: http://bit.ly/sub2storybooth | Record your story @ https://storybooth.com or our iPhone app for a chance to get animated. Comment, like, share this story.
Since the day Zoila was born it seemed that her mom never wanted her around. Her whole young life, she was always bouncing from one friend’s house to another, and never really having a home until her mom had a new baby – then she was invited to move back in. Being the oldest now, her mom wanted her to take care of her younger brothers.
But she was only ten years old – overwhelmed with responsibility, stress, and pressure that not even teens or high school kids should have on them. But, she made it through elementary school and was really excited to go on to middle school, but instead her mom decided to send her to Dominican Republic to stay with her grandparents. She stayed with them until she was 16 years old when her mom finally asked that she return home and that they try to build a good relationship.
For the first couple of months everything seemed to be working well. Then, a surprise to everyone, Zoila found out she was pregnant. Her mom was so mad about it that she let it ruin the relationship they were trying to build. Her mom did NOT want to have a new teenage mom around.
And, after her baby was born, since she had to stay home and care for her son anyway, her mom made her take care of all her siblings just like when she was ten. It was a lot more complicated this time since she had her own baby to take care of as well.
When Zoila finally decided to go back to high school it made the relationship with her mother even harder. She wanted Zoila to stay home all the time to take care of the kids and didn’t want her to advance herself with school and education. Zoila refused to drop out and her mom proceeded to kick her and her new baby out of the house.
She worked with her high school guidance counselor to try to find a shelter and they finally found the perfect place – Covenant House! It was a perfect solution – and a path for her to graduate. Every day she would wake up early, get ready, and drop her son off at daycare, then a full day of school, followed by an internship, homework, and then repeating the whole thing every single day. She worked so hard.
In June, a couple of weeks before graduation, Zoila got a call from her guidance counselor with amazing news! She had been chosen to speak at graduation as valedictorian; graduating with honors. She was so excited, had worked so hard, and felt so proud to have been recognized like that.
She had always believed that hard work pays off, as does persistence, determination, overcoming adversity, focus and sticktoitiveness. But, she had never imagined that she would achieve such an accomplishment. Her graduation speech was all about how even when things get hard, no matter how hard they get, you should never give up. No matter how many obstacles appear in your way, you should always keep striving to achieve your goals.
Having her son there to see her give her valedictorian speech – she was the top of the class – really underlined her accomplishment. She felt that not only had she accomplished something powerful for herself, but also something that would be really good for him too.
Once she was finished and everyone was cheering and clapping, she saw her son jumping up and down, so excited, and it filled her with pride, hope, love and joy. teen pregnancy story time.
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SleepOut America: https://sleepoutamerica.org/#stories
#MercerCares is honored to support Covenant House and SleepOut America. Mercer, make tomorrow today.
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