On Saturday I attended a graduation for seven young women who have successfully finished a program offered by a state affiliated organization called Our Families, Our Futures.
This organization is devoted to saving - there is no better word - the lives of young women and, hence, their families selected because of their situation of extreme poverty, personal crisis, combined with the will to change. The stories these graduates told were astounding - most with drug addiction, some with abuse, all hopelessly poor and struggling to survive and all with an intense detirmination to alter the course for the good of their children.
As I understand it the program is rigorous and includes, along with addiction rehab, psychological therapy - individual and group - training in skills for work in a field they are drawn to, training in the interview process and all that might be involved in securing and maintaining a job and, finally, job placement.
There were former graduates in the small audience cheering and applauding, laughing and crying.
All in all, my eyes were open to what it took to be there, what it will take to stay on the path of health and success. I have every hope and quite a bit of confidence that these young mothers will continue to move on through the hardships life deals. Afterall they have come a difficult distance.
I was struck by the impact their children had on their motivation. I find myself thinking that, while the life of a child is a heavy responsibility to bear, perhaps it is this burden that will save these women. Perhaps not having the weight of caring for another, particularly a child, even in the worst trials, is actually harder.
The first picture here is of a mother and her son. The mother's story was particularly impressive. In the 2nd picture they are surrounded by staff and supporters.
I will post other pictures from Our Families, Our Futures tomorrow.