SAFE Charter Program’s Impact on a Young Mother’s Education

Written by SAFE

Sophia* is a young mother residing in the SAFE Family Shelter. She was referred to the SAFE Charter Program by a Family Shelter Advocate and. Sophia, pregnant with her second child, felt disconnected, lost, and overwhelmed. She had faced significant adversity in her young life, with a complex history of abuse victimization at home and in her dating life. The instability and trauma she experienced affected her socially and academically. At almost 20 years old, Sophia had attended multiple schools, struggling with academic performance and building trusting relationships with teachers and peers.

A Family Shelter Advocate referred Sophia to the SAFE Charter Program. The Charter Program Director met with her to discuss academic goals. Considering enrolling in a GED program due to being behind in school, Sophia, only considered a freshman based on earned credits, felt conflicted. Despite past struggles with high school equivalency programs, she hoped to earn her diploma to show her children that hard work pays off. The Charter Program Director provided Sophia with information for our partner academy and helped her complete the enrollment packet. Sophia’s documentation was sent to the charter school, and she received a computer to navigate the enrollment and complete her classwork.

After leaving the SAFE Family Shelter, Sophia continued working with SAFE Charter Program and staff to complete her enrollment. Starting classes a month late, she enrolled in two instead of the standard four. Making slow but consistent progress, Sophia carved out small windows of time in her busy day to complete assignments.

Approaching the end of the 9 weeks, Sophia panicked as she wasn’t on track to finish by the deadline. Frantically pushing to complete her courses, she rushed through assignments and quizzes without absorbing information. Sophia finished her classes by the deadline, but didn’t initially achieve passing grades.

Contemplating giving up, Sophia accepted help from SAFE Charter Program staff and teachers. The SAFE Charter Program Director contacted Sophia’s teachers, and a plan was established, allowing her to devote sufficient time to her schoolwork and resubmit hastily completed assignments. As of today, Sophia has passed one course and made significant gains in her second class, maintaining open communication with SAFE and charter school staff.

Sophia’s story showcases shared responsibility and collaboration. Working with SAFE Charter staff, she developed an academic plan and committed to earning her high school diploma despite being behind her peers. SAFE Charter staff guided her through school enrollment and provided resources for success. Program staff adjusted Sophia’s course load to account for her busy schedule and late enrollment. Sophia worked towards her goal in small moments, accepting help when she stumbled, demonstrating significant academic progress.

SAFE Charter staff will continue advocating for Sophia, providing stable academic and emotional support until she achieves her dream of graduating high school. Because of our Charter School staff and our community support, we can help survivors like Sophia rebuild their lives and achieve their goals.

*Names were changed to protect identity