By the time Natasha came to New Moms with her newborn, Samiya, she had moved five times while pregnant, ultimately giving birth as a 19-year-old while living at The Night Ministry’s emergency shelter. Experiencing depression, Natasha knew she needed help, saying, “I knew I wasn’t ready for a baby. I didn’t have finances, I didn’t have my own place. It was kind of scary.”
While at The Night Ministry, Natasha learned about New Moms’ job training program, which blends classroom and on-the-job training in a comprehensive 16-week program specifically designed for young moms. The program appealed to Natasha because of the opportunity to work at Bright Endeavors, New Moms’ social enterprise candle company.
However, like many of the young mothers served by New Moms, the most important first step toward a better future was finding a safe, stable home. Knowing this, Natasha applied to New Moms’ transitional housing program and, in June 2017, moved into an apartment in our Transformation Center. In addition to providing a safe environment for Samiya, the apartment gave Natasha a sense of security and confidence that she had never experienced before. On her first impression of her new home, Natasha remarked, “When I saw the apartment, my heart dropped. This was my own place. I’d been waiting for this moment for so long. It felt like everything was clicking together for me.”
Confident in the fact that she would no longer have to worry about where she and her daughter would sleep each night, or how she would provide Samiya with basic necessities like diapers and formula, Natasha quickly began laying the groundwork for a new life. With guidance and support from New Moms’ staff, Natasha picked a daycare provider for Samiya, allowing her to devote her full attention each day to becoming the best mother she could be.
Enrolling in several support groups offered by New Moms, Natasha began gaining foundational parenting skills and took advantage of a peer network to help her deal with the unique challenges our participants face every day. She also entered the paid job training program that initially drew her to New Moms, learning professional skills like resume preparation and interview techniques, while also gaining practical skills while working as a production assistant at the Bright Endeavors factory.
Successfully completing the job training program in November 2017, Natasha’s hard work quickly paid off. Within a month of graduation from the program, she was hired by Helping Hand Partners, a nonprofit organization that sources and distributes socially responsible products. Still living at the Transformation Center, Natasha is now focused on saving money and continuing to utilize the family support programs offered by New Moms so that she can provide Samiya with the stability she needs to thrive. “My vision for myself is to provide for my child and raise her up the right way,” says Natasha. “And as a woman, to continue to go to work, take care of home, take care of bills, save money and be humble.”
Through New Moms, Natasha is shaping the story of what her family can look like one day at a time, and serving as an example of what is possible when hard work and determination meet opportunity. We are extraordinarily proud of Natasha, and excited for the future she is building for herself and her daughter.
Posted on February 27, 2018
New Moms (Chicago)
5317 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60651
New Moms (Oak Park)
405 South Euclid Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302
New Moms is proud to be a subgrantee of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) program and a member of REDF’s national portfolio.