The Success of One Mom is a Success For Us All
This Sunday we will celebrate Mother’s Day – either honoring our own mothers or being celebrated as a mother. It’s that one day each year that we show how thankful and grateful we are to our “Mom”. Unfortunately, in our community there are many mothers and children without a support system.
We know that education, income and health are all connected. All three building blocks are essential and a community is only as strong as the weakest link. What’s true for a community is equally true for each of us as individuals. Take the case of Teddy, a 14 year old runaway who is now on the road to stability. What follows is the story of how Teddy turned her life around, but her positive experience is really only one chapter in a larger story of how the Town of Palm Beach United is bringing people and organizations together to turn around our community.
Teddy was 14 when she ran away from home to live with her boyfriend. After enduring years of abuse and neglect from her father, she couldn’t take it anymore. “He never showed me the love he showed others,” Teddy remembers. “He just stopped caring about me.”
But life didn’t get any easier when Teddy ran away with her boyfriend – she soon became the victim of domestic violence. Within months, she was pregnant and this didn’t stop her unborn baby’s father from continuing the abuse, threatening her each time she tried to escape.
Before long, her boyfriend was arrested and she could finally leave. Certain she couldn’t return home, Teddy asked to be placed into foster care and soon joined the “family” at Children’s Home Society of Florida. “I felt like it was a new beginning for me,” she says.
Not only did Teddy finally have safety, but she also learned how to stay healthy during her pregnancy, how to prepare for motherhood and independence. After her son was born, Teddy learned even more, including how to properly hold her newborn, safely put him to bed and console him when he cried.
Because of the support of the Town of Palm Beach United Way and our partner agency, Children’s Home Society, Teddy found guidance and stability. She secured her own apartment, graduated high school and enrolled in college. Each step, she explains, brings her closer to providing the life she believes her son deserves. “I want him to have the life I never had,” Teddy says. “I want to give him all the love I never got.”
The Town of Palm Beach United Way is dedicated to improving the growing problem of foster youth transitioning from foster care to independent living – currently 66% are high school drop outs, 33% will be on the streets within 3 years and 60% will have babies within 4 years. We invest in programs like Project 18 and Transitional Housing that offer support for foster youth to ensure they do not become one of these statistics.
About the Town of Palm Beach United Way
Since 1945, the Town of Palm Beach United Way has invested more than $60 million into Palm Beach County because of generous donors who live or work on the island of Palm Beach. We advance the common good creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three building blocks of education, health and income. The Town of Palm Beach United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become part of the change. For more information, call us at 561.655.1919 or visit www.palmbeachunitedway.org.