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Denise’s Story

Denise was born and raised in Chicago. At 19 years old, she was living with her two children in a shelter for families before being referred to New Moms in 1998. She still remembers her fully furnished, New Moms apartment which was located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

While in the program, Denise finished high school and graduated from South Suburban Community College. She said the support she received from New Moms coaches was an important reason she was able to pursue her education.

“I just thought that I wouldn’t be able to ever finish,” Denise said. “I just thought that I would be a statistic and a dropout, so my biggest achievement was being able to go back to school and actually get a degree.”

She said her favorite memory from New Moms was the Christmas Store. During the annual participant Christmas party, moms could play games to win tickets which they redeemed at the Christmas store for gifts for themselves and their kids. She said her first year, the store was a surprise to the moms. They thought they were just playing games for fun. When it was revealed they could shop for Christmas presents, they were all so excited.

Denise is now married and the mother of four children. She is happy to say her two oldest girls have both graduated from college with their Bachelor’s degrees. Denise herself had gone back to school and is studying nursing at Ambria College of Nursing.

She is still in touch with other New Moms alumni. She said they bonded while attending Parent Support Groups together. In fact, a group of them would walk over from their apartments to the main New Moms’ building every week for their meeting.

To current young moms, Denise said that she knows how challenging it can be but, “set those goals and you’ll succeed.” She said she learned so much about herself while at New Moms and was proud of finishing school and starting her career.