18-year-old Kelly was 8-months pregnant when she bravely left her abusive home in rural Pennsylvania. Overwhelmed with fear, Kelly was filled with worry about her pregnancy, her abusive father, and her chance of becoming homeless. She lost all hope and was contemplating ending her life until she reached a local domestic violence shelter that was a grantee of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program.
With the help of shelter staff and domestic violence survivor advocates providing her emotional support and a safe place to stay, Kelly began to overcome her fears. She stayed at the shelter for two months, during which she gave birth to her daughter. When the time came, shelter staff took her to the local hospital helping to ensure the safe delivery of her child. Once Kelly returned from the hospital with her daughter, shelter staff made sure she was equipped with everything she would need to begin a new life as a mother. Kelly received parenting classes, household budgeting classes, resume building skills, counseling and many other life-transforming services.
Several years after Kelly left the shelter, she crossed paths with the shelter’s director at a local grocery store. The director recognized her immediately; only now, Kelly had blossomed into a strong and confident young woman. When Kelly saw her former advocate, she embraced her with tears streaming down her face, confiding, “You and the others at the shelter taught me that my life had value and purpose.”
Thanks to the chance for a new start she received at the shelter, Kelly is now a teacher for preschool children, and an active member of her community working with young people to help them realize their own value and potential.