With the support of CIS, our students stay in school, graduate and go on to bright futures. They all have a story about their journey to who they are today. Alumna Torrie shares hers.
I was only 17 years old when I realized I was two months pregnant. I was an honor student. I was an athlete who thought I was untouchable. But in the blink of an eye my life was turned upside down. I faced the reality of being a teenage mother. I walked with a smile on my face and an ever growing fear in my heart for the unknown future ahead of me. If anyone knows a thing about me, it’s that I am determined to prove people wrong if they doubt me. But for a second, I doubted myself. I wondered what was next for me because college seemed like a far and distant goal to obtain. But to this day I thank God for the support system that kept me strong during this time.
Somewhere along the way I was introduced to the Safe Journey and the Adolescent Parenting Program (APP) under the direction of Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. I never could have predicted the difference this program would make in my life. The program offered parenting lessons, mentoring and assistance with childcare to ensure that young mothers like me earned their high school diplomas. Since being introduced to Safe Journey and APP, I've received these things and much more, and along with Communities In Schools, they have truly been a key factor to my success. I took a trip to North Carolina A&T State University for a college tour, and I instantly fell in love with everything the university had to offer. I figured that this might be my chance and opportunity to go on and make myself proud again. Weeks later that letter came back – I had been accepted into my only choice school. Yes! I was going to college.
With the help of the Safe Journey and APP, school staff and scholarships, I was able to attend college free of charge. Since then I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology, my master’s degree from Northeastern University in nonprofit management, and I now work as a CIS site coordinator for an elementary school in Charlotte, North Carolina. I am a full-time mother, and I purchased my first home in 2015.
I say all of this to say, I have understood that my journey is just that – mine! We are all responsible for our own success, and we write the ending to our own stories. Having a child didn't take away my future; it simply gave me a new one.