Blessings are not always clear from the beginning. This was true for Grace, a pregnant twenty-year old that came to OUR PLACE for help. Her path seemed uncertain. The father of the baby had left, denying the baby was his. Grace had no financial or emotional support and found herself alone. It was at OUR PLACE that she found the care she needed to recognize her inner strength, to take care of herself and her baby. She received prenatal education, mentoring and encouragement. Grace delivered her baby boy and learned he had Down syndrome. She loved him unquestionably.
OUR PLACE guided her on raising a child with special needs and worked with her to set clear goals on how she would support herself and her child. Grace showed much resolve and continued to work two part-time jobs while studying for an Associate’s Degree in Human Services. Her first part-time job was at a grocery store, where she had worked for over eight years in customer service. After career counseling and job recommendations by her OUR PLACE social worker, she took a second part-time job with a nonprofit social service agency, that helps children placed in foster care. Through this position, she was able to get her feet wet in the field of human services, her chosen career path.
Through the first challenging years, Grace’s resilience shined. She ensured her son was involved with various family support services, including an excellent early intervention program. One afternoon a week, she took him to a program sponsored by Special Olympics where he could run and play with other children. She watched his joy grow as learned and discovered new things.
Grace showed the ability to persevere in the face of adversity. She completed her college studies and is now enjoying helping children with special needs working full-time as a paraprofessional at a local high school. Her love, kindness and empathy for those with challenges started at home. Through the blessing of her son, and the support of her community at OUR PLACE, Grace’s ability to give and care for others continues to flourish and blossom.
OUR PLACE offers pregnancy and parenting education, mentoring, guidance and support, from pregnancy to the child’s first three years. To learn more about the wonderful work of OUR PLACE s visit: http://www.nh-cc.org/ourplace