Meet Tabitha! Tabitha is a former New Moms resident and Job Training alumnus who is now working at Northwestern Hospital and finishing her bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Tabitha’s story is an exciting example of how supporting young moms helps to build strong families. And that is why New Moms exists — to shine a light on a path forward for young moms and help them find stability, gain a community, and grow in confidence as they lead their families.
After losing her job at a local restaurant, Tabitha found out she was pregnant and soon became homeless. For a few months, Tabitha was staying with friends but felt like she needed more help during her pregnancy.
She was eventually connected with New Moms during her stay at the La Casa Norte shelter. Through New Moms’ housing program, Tabitha gained a safe home to raise her newborn daughter and focus on her next steps.
“New Moms gave me a stable place where I didn’t have to worry about safety, will I have heat, or all that other stuff,” said Tabitha, who was 23 when she was referred to New Moms. “I had stability in my life while I was able to change my own life.”
During her time in our two-year transitional housing, Tabitha also enrolled in New Moms’ Job Training program. Through her work experience at our social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, Tabitha learned how to communicate and receive feedback in a professional workplace.
“It challenged me to learn how to address the situation more professionally — not just screaming, yelling “Raw, raw!” Tabitha laughed. “I had to learn how to say how I felt about the situation and how I wanted to resolve it. But it also gave me confidence in myself.”
At the end of her time at Bright Endeavors, New Moms staff member Ashlee Krawczyk helped Tabitha apply to a career development program called YearUp. The program provided Tabitha with skill training and a pathway to corporate internships with potential for placement. Tabitha was then placed at Northwestern Hospital as a Research Administrator intern.
Tabitha embraced the challenging experience as a critical stepping stone to a long-term career path. She said while the program and her internship at Northwestern Hospital were difficult, she felt supported and encouraged to see it through.
“When it came to YearUp, I saw a lot of people who want to change or want to get out of the situation they’re in,” Tabitha said. “Everybody there has something they want to do, and I did too. When classes got hard, we all studied and shared notes. When somebody was ready to quit, we all gave encouraging words.”
After her YearUp internship, Tabitha was offered a full-time position at Northwestern in Research and Administration as an Account Specialist. She said she knew Northwestern was a good fit for her because she was allowed to be herself in the office. She doesn’t feel like she has to look a certain way or speak in a certain way to be accepted.
“I’m a little loud, I’m a little bubbly, I wear bright colors,” Tabitha said. “I don’t have to put on a fake voice or talk a certain way to [work at Northwestern]. I can just be myself.”
After her two years with New Moms, Tabitha has a steady job and career path, she has found a safe and stable home, and continues to focus on being a great mom to her daughter.
“I want her to grow up and understand that she can do whatever she wants to do,” Tabitha said. “I want her to know that, “I’m going to support you in whatever you do. Even if you fail and hit the ground. I will be there to help you get back up. Just try for yourself.””
Tabitha said her next steps are to complete her bachelor’s degree in business and pursue an MBA. However, Tabitha also has a passion for baking, and so her long-term goal is to expand her home bakery business and open her own walk-up bakery.
“At this point in life, my goal for myself is to finish school,” Tabitha said. “I would like to keep growing and eventually get to a point where I’m stable in my life and in my income where I can go back to my passion for culinary.”
Tabitha said she’s learned a lot about herself during the last couple of years. She said reflecting back, she realized how much determination it took to get where she is today.
“My journey of losing my job, being homeless, being in the shelter, it all started back November 17, 2016 when I lost my job,” Tabitha said. “I didn’t feel done with my struggle until [this] December when I got my job. Nothing is going to happen overnight. Nothing worth having is easy. So, it was going to be a process – what I did.”
Not only does Tabitha look to her own accomplishments for inspiration, she also looks to them for reassurance when she experiences struggle. Tabitha said she tries not to worry about what the future might hold because she’s confident her drive will help her find resources and overcome potential challenges — like what she found at New Moms
“I feel like if I fall down again or something happens in my life where I’m at square one again, I know I’m strong enough to get back,” Tabitha said. “I know I’ll do whatever it takes. No matter what it is.”
Tabitha’s story is a great example of the way that New Moms provides critical support and resources for young moms who face times of instability and uncertainty. Your support can continue to make this possible. We still face a $90,000 shortfall in our FY20 budget. Make a gift by June 30 to ensure New Moms can continue to surround young families with everything they need to succeed.
Click here to donate: www.newmoms.org/help-create-stability
Posted on June 17, 2020
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