“It’s time to go to work, Mama!”

Determined to Build a Better Life

It was brutally cold the night Tabitha arrived at the homeless shelter, but she still hesitated before going in.

This wasn’t what she wanted, but she and her newborn daughter Rylee truly had nowhere else to go. She planned to stay for a night or two and then they’d get their own place.

They stayed — in that shelter and a series of others — for three years.

Tabitha and Rylee have left the shelter and are now living in their own apartment. Tabitha has a steady job working in security, and Rylee is enrolled in the City’s Pre-K program.

Tabitha prides herself on being a good role model for her daughter. In fact, she talks so much about how important it is to have a job and go to work that every morning Rylee says, “It’s time to go to work, Mama!” — even on weekends.

Tabitha credits part of her success to CV’s IMPACT Program (Intervention to Maintain Parents And Children Together). IMPACT provides classes and support groups to help parents learn new skills to better care for their children. Although some parents are required to take IMPACT classes to regain custody of their child, Tabitha voluntarily enrolled in the program because she thought it would help her be a better mother.

“I made it my goal to take advantage of everything I could to give Rylee a better childhood. I didn’t want her to face the same obstacles I faced… no, it wasn’t even ‘want.’ I was DETERMINED to give her a better life.”

Tabitha was an exceptional student, paying close attention and asking insightful questions during lessons about child development, parent/child bonding, age-appropriate behaviors, and more.

“One of the topics I focus on in the class is modeling -– being the type of adult we want our children to grow up to be,” said instructor Valerie Worthy. “Tabitha really took that to heart.”

“I’m proud of where I’m at, and I hope Rylee follows in my footsteps,” said Tabitha. “I know she’ll thank me one day.”

Tabitha was a role model for the other participants as well. Now 27, she was several years older than her fellow classmates, and willingly shared her life experiences.

Tabitha is looking forward to serving as a role model yet again, to future IMPACT participants. She has just become the newest member of CV’s Parent Council.

We are grateful to the French-American Aid for Children foundation, which has supported the IMPACT Parenting Program for more than 30 years.

Next: Bravehearts — From Victim to Victor

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