Megan didn’t know what her next step would be after learning she was pregnant at 15.
And, though she didn’t want to leave her hometown of Beaufort, Mo., she knew that something would need to change if she wanted to provide a safe, healthy environment for her son.
“I didn’t have anywhere to go until I heard about Almost Home,” said Megan.
A United Way partner agency, Almost Home provides up to two years of transitional housing for teen moms ages 12-19 as well as an eight-year Alumni Support Program which offers follow-up services. Almost Home offered Megan a secure place for her and her son, Clayton, to live free from abuse and drugs. Deciding to leave everything she knew wasn’t easy, but it was necessary for her and Clayton to thrive.
The staff at Almost Home recognized Megan’s ability to overcome life obstacles from the beginning.
“She always has a positive attitude and a ready smile. She is dedicated to both her and Clayton’s future,” said Karrie Simpson, Almost Home’s director of programs and performance.
In addition to offering weekly life skills classes on healthy parenting, educational attainment, employability, developing self-sufficiency and increased well-being and resilience, Almost Home requires all the teen moms to enroll in an educational program. Before coming to Almost Home, Megan was preparing to drop out of high school in order to raise Clayton. Once settled into life at Almost Home, Megan enrolled in a GED session through St. Patrick Center and successfully passed the exam as the valedictorian of her class. Now that high school is behind her, Megan can focus on finding a stable job and spending more time with Clayton.
Clayton is a handful, even for a toddler. It’s clear that Almost Home staff adore him, but his energy and ready smile hide the fact that he is very familiar with the inside of a doctor’s office. Born with kidney complications, Clayton must frequently visit specialists to determine if a future kidney transplant is needed.
Though many moms would feel discouraged by Clayton’s health struggles, Megan is resilient. “I want him to be happy and healthy. We’re close to Clayton’s urologist here, which makes it easier for him to receive the medical care he needs.”
Besides attending to Clayton’s medical concerns, Megan is busy deciding on a career for herself. She plans to become a pharmacy technician, and is torn between learning the trade through hands-on training or formal schooling. Reflecting on her time at Almost Home, Megan understands how different her current life is compared to when she first realized she was pregnant.
“Trying to balance school, a job and raising a kid is hard,” said Megan. “But Almost Home has given me a future.”
About Almost Home
Launched in 1993, Almost Home inspires teenage mothers, ages 12-19, to create a better life for themselves and their children by providing care and housing that prepare them for the future. They have received United Way funding since 2008.