Blog: Promoting Independence - Alternatives For Girls

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Blog: Promoting Independence

Oct. 25 2011

Posted on October 25, 2011 by Karrie

About the blogger: Karrie is one of three young women who recently shared their stories at AFG’s “Cultivating Victories” event. She is a graduate of AFG’s Transition to Independent Living Program, and is  about to “graduate” from AFG’s Peer Education Program.

Hello my name is Karrie. I am twenty-one years old. I’m a past resident of the Alternatives For Girls Shelter.

What was life like before I became a participant at Alternatives For Girls? I was a single parent raising my son, moving from house to house after me, my son, my sister and my mother were evicted from our apartment in 2007. We were evicted due to my mother’s drug and gambling addictions. Because of her addictions, she didn’t pay rent. At the time, I was 17 years old. My son and I then went to live with my mother’s friend. Then after a few months, my mother’s friend’s husband decided that I needed to move back in with my mother because I was interfering with his household. When I went back to stay with my mom she was on drugs heavier than I thought. Once again we were evicted because my mother’s drug habit had gotten worst. So we relocated in 2009 for what I hoped to be the last time.

On the day of September 5th, 2009 around 9 pm my world came crashing down. That afternoon my mom, her fiancé Gregory and my son Kartie’r attended Hamtramck Carnival. Within a few hours of the event, Gregory returned to the house without my son. He then told me that he and my mother got into a disagreement about my mother wanting money to get high and that was when he left my son with my mother. I immediately began to walk the streets of Hamtramck in search of my son and my mother. Hours had passed and I was not successful in finding my mother or my son.

I finally arrived at the Hamtramck Police Department to file a missing person report. The police report turned into an amber alert stating that my mother was a substance abuser. My son was returned home to me on September 6th 2009 at 12 pm. My mother returned later that day and told me I had to leave her home because I had embarrassed her to the entire world. That was the day that my heart shattered into a million pieces. That was also the day that my mother showed her true colors and chose her fiancé over me.

I became a resident of Alternatives For Girls on September 8th 2009. I became involved with Alternatives For Girls because I became homeless and I didn’t have anywhere to go. And I knew that I needed to make a better life for my child and myself. Since moving into Alternatives for Girls, I have accomplished many things. At AFG, I was able to learn skills such as budgeting, patience, healthy relationships, STI/STD prevention, how to be a better parent, and being independent.

Almost exactly a year ago, I was able to move out of AFG’s Shelter and into my own apartment. I was blessed with housing for me and my two children Kartie’r and Sa’Nai., I’m currently a Peer Educator team leader for AFG’s Outreach Program, which focuses on homelessness, staying safe in relationships, HIV prevention, healthy relationships, and more. As part of the Youth Street Outreach team, I like being able to go out and communicating with girls about staying safe and trying to get them somewhere safe to stay.

I have also furthered my education. I have obtained a G.E.D, and I am currently enrolled in Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Michigan. I’m majoring in Nursing and my minor is Criminal Justice. My son Kartie’r is enrolled in Pre-School at GoLightly Academy. Since being involved with Alternatives For Girls I have learned how to be a better parent to my children, how to cope with anger, to manage money and most of all how to be independent. My plans for the future are to graduate from college, to own my own home, and to found a homeless center with the same priorities as AFG but also accept men and women up until the age of 30. I am thankful for AFG; without them, I don’t know where I’d be right now. Now that I am a Peer Educator, I am proud to be able to help young women who are in situations just like I was in so that they, too, can become independent.

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