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Realizing Her Potential

August 15, 2017 | VNA Staff | Story

One of nine siblings, Princess never had a mother or father figure to look up to. By her 11th birthday, she found herself in foster care. Her grades were terrible. She never worked up to her potential.

“I’ll be honest, before I was pregnant, I was a wild child,” Princess said. Knowing a baby was on the way her junior year in high school changed everything.

“I wanted to be a great mom, a great example for my child,” she explained.

She started to work hard at school and took on two jobs. It was no longer all about her. Her child was coming, and he was a priority.

When Junior was born, the nurse at the hospital asked Princess if she would be interested in VNA’s no-cost home visitation program, Love & Learn, designed especially for pregnant and parenting teens 21 years of age or younger. She jumped at the opportunity.

“Princess is so smart. She wanted to use every resource available to her,” explained Kate Esterling, Princess’s parent coach.

VNA introduced Princess to all the parenting resources in her local community, offering the needed support to help her to continue with school, understand her son’s behavior and listen to his cues as he mastered early developmental skills.

Today, she rents an apartment for her and her son, and has her own car. She graduated from high school a year early, landed four college scholarships and received a 3.25 GPA during her first year at Metro Community College, where she plans to be a peer mentor next year. Someday, Princess hopes to be a police officer.

“It’s amazing to watch the connections take place of the teens that were afraid to have the baby. To watch them have the power to help their child and to create that bond,” Esterling said. “It is an awesome, life-changing program.”


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