Meet Amanda & Elena: Beating the OddsWritten by Workhorse Marketing
Amanda has spent most of the past two and half years at the Austin Children’s Shelter. She first came to us as a 14 year old girl, six months pregnant from a man more than twice her age. She spoke Spanish with very little English. Originally from Mexico, she came to the United States at the age of five with her father but was put into foster care when she was still very young. She doesn’t remember her Mother and has spent virtually her whole life in foster homes or shelters. She had never had a caring and consistent adult presence in her life – that is until she came to ACS.
Amanda arrived at the Shelter as an extremely angry teenager and truthfully, she had a lot to be angry about. Not only had she never had an adult in her life that she could trust and care for her, she was also about to become a mother — with no role model for what that meant and no support. When she got angry Amanda was very aggressive, throwing whatever she could lift – including chairs – and physically attacking others. When she was eight months pregnant, she jumped the wall and ran away.
Elena was born while Amanda was in our care. In the following year, she left twice for another placement and both times asked to return to ACS. While she wanted her freedom, she found being a young mother without the support we provided to be too difficult. The Austin Children’s Shelter had also become home. Amanda told us “This is the only home I’ve ever really had and you helped me learn what being a mom is all about.” She wanted us to know that she learned by watching how our staff interact with her and by what they taught her. She’s never had any other model.
Many of the staff have been with her on this entire journey and the relationship is more like a family – something we strive to maintain because it has helped her to come so far from where she started. Through therapy and consistent, loving care, she’s learned patience and how to control her anger. Amanda’s cottage staff have taught her skills she can use to calm herself. Now, when she does get angry, they back away, giving her space to manage on her own and Amanda works to regain her composure.
With your support, we gave them a place to call home, while helping Amanda learn to control her anger. Now 17, Amanda is a mother who is affectionate and patient but firm. She continues to mature as a person and is preparing to get a job and move out on her own. And she’ll have the tools to succeed.
This wonderful twosome, we owe to you.
The healing that takes place at Austin Children’s Shelter would not be possible without our community’s support. Continuing to support Austin Children’s Shelter by donating today is a choice to continue to support those in our community who need a community network more than most of us can imagine.