Dennise walked through our Drop-In Center doors for the first time when she was just 19 years old. She had been living in an unsafe environment and needed help finding a path forward not only for herself, but also for the child that she was expecting. She was already meeting with Emily from the Anoka-Hennepin Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) and Teen Parent Program (TPP) to work on goals for her own success, particularly getting her high school diploma, and goals for her role as a mother. Knowing that she needed additional help with her current situation, she was referred by the Anoka-Hennepin School District to HOPE 4 Youth. Dennise frequently visited the Drop-In to meet her basic needs including food, personal hygiene items and clothing, eat a hot meal and access resources and services that promoted self-care including haircuts as well as prenatal care.
With all the help, Dennise was beginning to move forward. Unfortunately, as we see with many homeless youth, Dennise fell into old habits and ended up in a downtown shelter. Staying in the shelter for three months made her realize that she couldn’t continue as she had been; this was not the life she wanted for herself or her child. She made the decision to reconnect with her support system at HOPE 4 Youth and got back on track with her goals. Knowing that she needed her high school diploma to find an eventual career, she returned to school and in March of this year she graduated. In a few short weeks, Dennise and her son, Isaiah, will begin the next phase of their journey. They have been accepted into the Jeremiah Project which will prepare Dennise to excel in the workforce after she attends the Minneapolis Community and Technical College and prepare Isaiah to succeed in school and with his future.
Dennise knows that she would not be moving to this important next step if it wasn’t for HOPE 4 Youth and the TPP. She is thankful for all the ongoing support that she has received through her struggles, which would not have been possible without all of our supporters!