Phoenix Day Changed Melinda's Life Forever
What Your Support Made Possible
“My mom was a teen mom. She was a wonderful mother, but as is so often the case, I followed in her footsteps,” says Melinda.
“I was a teen mom too. I was pregnant at 15, and I had my daughter Maria at 16. I was just a kid and I didn’t know any better – I was just doing what my mom had done,” she explains.
“But, everything changed when Maria came into my life. When I saw her for the first time, I just fell in love, and I knew that I would do anything for her. I would make sure that she wouldn’t be a teen mom, that she would have goals, that she would have a future.”
Melinda knew that she couldn’t drop out of high school, but she didn’t have someone to care for her daughter. “I couldn’t drop out and I couldn’t start working until I was 18, so finding somewhere safe for my daughter to learn and grow while I finished school was extremely difficult.”
After a long search, Melinda found A New Leaf’s Phoenix Day program. “It was the perfect fit, in a community with almost no other resources. The school was one of the top in the state, and the staff worked with me to make it affordable.” Melinda enrolled her daughter, Maria, at just a few months old.
Only two years later, Melinda graduated from high school. “I don’t know if I would have done that without the support from A New Leaf. Those resources transformed my life, making it possible to help myself. It meant the world to me.”
Melinda then went to work while keeping Maria in Phoenix Day, which she feels made all the difference. “Maria broke the cycle. She wasn’t a teen mom. She graduated high school, started college, got a good job. She’s married now and has a beautiful daughter.”
But Melinda was not content to stop her education either. With the support of Phoenix Day, Melinda decided to attend college – the first in her family to do so. “I was determined to show this little girl that she could do anything she put her mind too. “
“I enrolled at Phoenix College and was determined to graduate. I didn’t have a car, so I spent 3 hours a day on the bus, getting Maria to Phoenix Day, going to work, picking her up, and then taking her to night school with me.”
Melinda kept Maria at Phoenix Day as she worked through college. “It was a critical support. I had to work and go to school, and without a place like Phoenix Day I wouldn’t have been able to finish school.”
Melinda ultimately graduated college, and is now pursuing a career in Community Development at Ottawa University. “To demonstrate to my kids that this was possible, it was so important to me.”
“Without the resources that A New Leaf was able to provide, I don’t know where I would be today. I don’t know where my daughter would be today,” says Melinda.
“Thank you so much for supporting programs like Phoenix Day. You changed my life, and my daughter’s life, forever.”