As someone who grew up under the care of a loving foster mother, I know two things. One is that being a mother is not just about biology. And second, we owe all the honor and support we can give to every woman who strives to be a good mother.
As the leader of Eckerd Connects, my heart aches for all the young mothers, many of them homeless, who are trying so hard to be good mothers under the worst of conditions.
You see, to me, Mother’s Day is also a reminder that seven out of 10 young women who age out of the foster care system are pregnant by the time they are 21. This is shocking.
A young woman can go from having a bedroom and three meals a day to standing on a street corner with two grocery bags of clothing and no idea where her next meal is coming from. Without food and shelter or the possibility of a job, young women like Gloria often end up homeless and desperate.
At Eckerd Connects, we work to help young people in our foster care program become self-sufficient and well-adjusted adults. But most foster care systems end support at 18 or 21.
On the streets, they are in danger from predators.
By age 20, Gloria had two daughters and was living in a homeless shelter. She felt hopeless about changing her situation or being a good mother to her girls.
Mother’s Day is an urgent reminder that we must do more to help young women like Gloria avoid homelessness and have a life safe from danger.
We also need to help mothers like Gloria finish their education and build a career. Too many are out of the foster care system before they have even graduated from high school! And often, they haven’t been taught the skills they need to become self-sufficient.
When Gloria and her girls were living in a homeless shelter, Gloria couldn’t sleep at night because she was scared and had no idea where to turn for help.
Thanks to your support, our Workforce Development program helped them find a small apartment in a safe neighborhood, and you helped make sure the girls had decent clothes and the school supplies they needed to catch up with school.
We taught Gloria how to create a budget and manage the small amount of money she had. She learned how to clean and take care of an apartment. Once the family was stabilized, we helped Gloria dream about what she wanted her life to be and create a realistic plan to reach that dream.
She decided to go back to school!
Because of your support, this young mother is setting a good example for her daughters. Her voice breaks when she talks about wanting to be worthy of Mother’s Day.
Gloria says, “I am really glad there is a program like Eckerd Connects, because without the support and help from them, I wouldn’t be where I am with a safe, secure place to live. I wouldn’t have a job. And I wouldn’t be going back to school. Thank you for giving me a second chance and helping me find meaning in life.”
So Mother’s Day reminds me of the urgency of your support to help young mothers like Gloria. It also reminds me to thank you for supporting our work to recruit and train the very best foster mothers for children whose lives are upended.
That’s why I’m writing to ask you to make a very special donation in honor of Mother’s Day. Your gift will honor your own mother, by supporting young mothers like Gloria as they strive to break the cycle and build a better life, and support the loving care of foster mothers.Donate now