As a caseworker for Child Center – Marygrove in Florissant, Missouri, Ariel Turner gets a lot of emergency phone calls from young people receiving services. So when Turner received a call from 20-year-old Deidre last spring, she was thrilled to hear good news on the other end of the line. Deidre, a resident of the agency’s Transitional Living Program (TLP) and mother of three, had passed her exam to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
Turner is one of hundreds of caseworkers working in a Family and Youth Services Bureau-funded program for runaway and homeless youth. Like other TLPs across the country, Marygrove’s program offers young people ages 16 to 22 a safe, stable place to live and services such as mental and physical health care, job opportunities, and basic life skills building.
For Deidre, knowing where her family would sleep each night offered the stability she needed to balance her duties as a mom with her desire to become a nurse. She worked with Marygrove staff to setup her two-bedroom apartment, follow a weekly grocery budget, and begin saving money for living on her own. She also met with Turner several times a week to talk about her progress preparing for the CNA exam and to seek out study tips.
Today, Deidre works seven-hour shifts in a local nursing home and receives a steady income. She continues to participate in Marygrove’s TLP, where she regularly attends classes on topics like sexual health and budgeting while offering parenting advice to other young moms in the program.
“She’s always been really motivated to do well,” Turner says. “Our program was just there at the right time to help her pursue those goals and make them a reality.”