blog Archives - Alternatives For Girls

If you feel your safety is threatened, you can quickly exit this website by pressing the Escape key or clicking the X in the bottom right-hand corner.





Forever Grateful: One young woman reflects on her struggles, and dreams for a brighter future

Oct. 1 2018 | Tags: , , ,

On September 25th, Jackie, an AFG Shelter resident, gave this speech at the Positive Choices, Powerful Lives event. 

Before I came to Alternatives For Girls, me and my daughter were staying with my mom. We weren’t seeing eye to eye, so I decided to leave to avoid further conflict. For a few months, we were staying with family and friends. I didn’t have a sense of direction. I was doing just enough to get by. Basically, I really wasn’t trying. I was homeless, unhappy, stressed, depressed, jobless, out of school, drinking every day, smoking. But one thing I always did was no matter what state of mind I was in, I was a phenomenal mom to my daughter. I made sure that my baby had what she needed.

I knew I had to make a change, for me and my daughter. I went to the Detroit shelter referral center, where you have to go to be referred to a shelter, and two hours later I was at AFG moving in. AFG is perfect fit for me. It’s clean, and I’m big on clean by the way. They helped me with literally everything and I’m forever grateful. I came to AFG with the clothes on my back, nothing else. They took me and my daughter shopping and bought us clothes. They took us to get our social security cards and birth certificates. Two weeks later, a staff member helped me enroll in school, where I am finishing earning my high school diploma and plan to graduate this December.

Shortly after, I began working as a youth leader, for pay, in AFG’s summer camp for younger girls, called Rise ‘N Shine.  I learned how to work with children. I never had a job like this before. The kids loved me and looked up to me. So I had to set a good example for them to follow.

Since I’ve been at AFG, I learned that every situation does not need a reaction. I’ve learned how to save money and how to make an affordable budget.  I’ve learned how to speak and dress for interviews. I’ve also learned a lot of things in our parenting classes. They taught me how to calm a child down when she is having a temper tantrum, and how to eat healthy and teach my daughter healthy eating habits.

My plans for the future are to make sure I graduate high school and pick a career suited for me. I also plan to have a place for me and my daughter and reliable transportation for us. I can just imagine us riding our bikes down the street together. It’s a must that I further my education and my daughter does as well. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in. Thank you!

AFG Blog: Meet Katie

Dec. 2 2016 | Tags: , ,

The author of this month’s AFG Blog, Katie*, shares her story of becoming homeless and finding a home at Alternatives For Girls.

I’ve lived at Alternatives For Girls for six months now. Long time right? I know, but I’m thankful I was able to even stay that long. Before coming to AFG it was rough. My friend got put out of her home and my family said she could come live with us. But, my family grew to be unhappy with the situation and asked us both to leave. For the next seven months, my whole life did a 360. It was the worst experience. I was scared, I had nowhere to go. I went from hotel to hotel, to people I called “friends and family”. I used to work overtime just so I didn’t have to be outside. I sold my phones, my clothes, shoes, and my laptop from school, so we could have a place to sleep.

I became involved with AFG after I was looking on my phone for different shelters. I had visited AFG once before and after looking at pictures, my friend and I decided to call to see if we could stay. I didn’t want to go to a shelter, I was scared, but I felt like it was the best decision.

Once I got on the right track, I had so many job opportunities sent my way, with help from the staff, especially Ms. Angela, Ms. Julia, and Ms. Shanae. AFG is like a family to me, from some of the staff to the residents there. They push me and support me in anything I need. I will truly miss them when I leave. But I’m so glad to come across the opportunity.

The lessons I’ve learned were: being independent, staying focused, and working hard. I use to depend on the world to have my back, but I got a wakeup call and now I just depend on myself. I work so hard because it feels so good when you do it yourself! Since I’ve been at AFG, I’ve managed to accomplish the goals I set for myself like becoming stable, having steady jobs and being happy. I did this with the help of my Resident Advisor, Ms. McKeba. She’s the best and I love her dearly! She pushes me so hard and sometimes I ask “Oh my God, why me?” But I’m glad she sees the potential in me to do better.

My plans for the future are to be genuinely happy and comfortable and to make my family and friends proud! To show the world the great independent woman I’ve become! I love kids and want to become a childcare director or pediatrician.

I really found my passion at AFG too.  I’ve always loved kids but working with the AFG Rise N’ Shine summer camp was the best job I’ve ever had. No worries, just pure happiness. We laughed, they drove me crazy, but I’d do it all over again.

Being a part of AFG gave me a chance to find myself, try to stress less, and remain focused. They gave me housing opportunities once I entered into the long-term program. I also attended groups, where I have learned life skills that I’ll take with me when I move into my own housing soon.

AFG really wasn’t a shelter to me, it was a home I always wanted. Yes, we bicker and stuff here and there but its love. It wasn’t about it even being a shelter to me once I got used to it, it was what I made it and I made it a good experience and I love every bit of it. I really can’t wait to have my own home. But I know I’ll cry like a baby. You guys just don’t understand, without AFG I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you for being a part of me and taking a toll on me. AFG is there when you have no one else. Thank you for letting me tell my story.

*Name has been changed to protect her confidentiality. 

AFG Blog: “I can finally begin focusing on myself…”

Dec. 1 2014 | Tags: , ,

Shelter resident, Natashia*, gave the following speech at a recent event for AFG. This is her story, in her own words:  

My name is Natashia* and I am 19 years old. To be an independent young woman nowadays is very unique to me. Normally, you see a lot of women who are very dependent on their other half, which isn’t too healthy. I was living in an apartment with my boyfriend and another roommate. Our roommate didn’t pay her portion of the rent, and so we were evicted. My parents basically disregarded me, and so their home is not welcome to me. As for friends, I choose not to have many because of distractions, so for the few that I do have, they’re all going through something and I don’t need the added stress of their problems as well as my own. My boyfriend and I began living from place to place and eventually ended up living in a storage unit. During this time, I had a job but I didn’t have any transportation so I was walking one and a half hours to work each direction, sometimes in the dark. I went wrong moving in with my boyfriend too soon, and even though he had (or so it seemed), all of his stuff together, as humans, we tend to forget that any situation or circumstance isn’t certain; it can change in an instant as my life recently did.

A few weeks ago, I felt like I had completely lost almost all control I had over my life and the events that took place in it. I wanted to just lay down somewhere and give up. But my conscious mind told me that giving up doesn’t solve any problem; it never has and it never will. So I kept pushing through. Then I was referred to AFG by my boyfriend’s mother. Boy, that was the last thing I wanted to do. My perception of a shelter was twisted and so I didn’t see any way that just having a bed for a few hours could help me get my life together. Imagine my surprise once I arrived! Alternatives For Girls is nothing like I could have ever imagined, and in a few days I was finally able to relax and clear my head.

Last week, I was accepted to the Transition to Independent Living Program at AFG! This program will be beneficial towards helping me reach that stability that I’ve somehow lost in my life. I can finally begin focusing on myself and what I really want to accomplish. I want to get back in school and take up psychology and marketing. I want to someday help others and give them the chance to straighten out their problems and reach the goals that they once thought impossible, just as AFG has so far done for me. All of the one and a half hour walks to work and back, the studying at the library, the stress and hardships that I have and may have to continue facing in the future will only make my success that much more to be proud of.

My short-term goals consist of me getting a job and enrolling in school so that I can set the course for my 2-year goal, which is where I would like to have a stable, good job, a better relationship with family and friends, and to have a clear view of how I want my life to go from there on. I have the motivation and the drive to get to where I need to go and I feel like the AFG program is my set of keys.

*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality.

AFG Blog: “I am possible!”

Sep. 30 2014 | Tags: , ,

On September 23rd, Joy, a Shelter resident, gave this speech at AFG’s “Planting Roots” event.

Hello my name is Joy Evans.

21 years ago I celebrated my first birthday in a women’s battered shelter. At the age of 15 I entered into my first youth homeless program by choice, due to my mother’s neglectful behavior. Throughout my life my mother struggled with addiction which made it hard for her to provide for me. I relied on many shelter programs in several different states throughout my teen years. At the age of 20 I became involved with Alternatives For Girls. I was homeless and found out I was pregnant. I knew I needed to obtain resources to maintain financial independence, and gain life and parenting skills. I needed assistance with prenatal care, a safe place to help with my pregnancy, and education on newborn care.

Once I became a resident at Alternatives For Girls I obtained proper insurance, prenatal vitamins, and scheduled prenatal appointments with an OB/GYN. In August, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl! Since beginning this new chapter of motherhood I still rely on the support system and resources at AFG. While at AFG I was able to obtain a job, save up money, and I am currently transitioning into my own apartment! I will also be attending online college in the winter to obtain my associates degree. I am now on a new path to maintain a stable life for me and my daughter.

My future plans are to have two jobs when my daughter enters Head Start. Attend university when my daughter enters elementary and earn a master’s degree before she enters high school. By the time she enters middle school I would like to buy my first house which will be my family home and I hope to have it paid off by the time she graduates college and pass it down to her. Because I don’t have a family home to visit, I would love to be able to provide that to her. I love to give and teach to others and I strive to be the solution to many social problems such as high school drop outs and youth homelessness. I feel passionate about these issues because I overcame them myself, and as a result, I’ve had so many opportunities and doors open for me.

Thanks to the supportive staff members at AFG, especially the shelter director Ms. Carolyn, the shelter manager Ms. Shelia, and my case planner Ms. Carmen, I’ve been able to utilize the skills I’ve learned in order to maintain an independent lifestyle. In the last 9 months, I’ve completed the goals I set for myself when I came to AFG: obtaining a job, saving money, and finding my own apartment! I would like to thank AFG for allowing me into the program. Over time I’ve learned “when you think something is impossible… simply say I AM POSSIBLE!” Thank you.

AFG Blog: Becoming a Good Student

Nov. 26 2013 | Tags: , , ,

On October 29th, Rosa, a member of AFG’s Prevention program, gave this speech at AFG’s “Dream Warriors” event.

Good evening everybody. My name is Rosa Morales and I am 15 years old. This is my second year in AFG’s after-school program.

Before I started at AFG I didn’t really care about school. I was doing badly in school. My grades were just so bad. My parents always told me to try my best but it was like it entered through one ear and came out the other.

My parents signed me up for AFG because they heard it was going to help me. I come to AFG after school two or three days a week. They pick me up from school and bring me to AFG. During the after-school program, they help me with my homework. We talk about how our day went, our plans for college, and what we want to be in the future.  We also help the kids from the middle school group with their homework.

At AFG I feel happy and when I’m with the AFG girls I feel like they’re part of my family. At AFG, we can talk about uncomfortable stuff that I wouldn’t want to talk about with my parents, like STDs.

Some lessons I learned at AFG was that I need to be myself and express myself as who I am and let all the bad out of me. I’m doing better in school. I used to get Cs, Ds, and Fs, and now, just one year later, I’m an A and B student. My parents are so proud of me. Now, I’m a more positive, open-minded person. I’ve learned to have patience. Now I like to see everyone happy—if I see someone who is sad, I’ll go over and talk to them to see if I can do anything to make them happy.

Some plans I have for my future is to keep coming to AFG and spread the word about AFG. AFG has made a change on my life. I plan to graduate from high school and go to college. I want to study nursing and become a pediatric nurse. I like helping kids and I know I can make a change.