A Journey in Courage
Christina is originally from Chicago. After her first visit to Austin, she was committed to move to the area, but in 2012, she got pregnant.
“When I found out I was pregnant, I cried. His dad and I had a rough relationship. I was not enthusiastic about being a parent. I wasn’t ready.”
She was referred to the nation-wide Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program and enrolled. Although she felt uneasy about letting someone into her home, she knew that she needed help.
“I was nervous that the nurse was going to judge my situation, that she’d think I was unfit to be a parent. But she treated me like I was family, like I was a sister to her.”
Each time Christina’s nurse visited, she’d bring a binder with lessons for her to choose from. They talked about going back to school and making a plan for when the baby comes.
On February 12, 2013 her son Walter was born.
With her heart still set on moving to Austin, the NFP provider in Chicago connected Christina to Any Baby Can. On a hot July day, Christina, 5-month old Walter, and her boyfriend moved to Austin, knowing not another soul in the city.
Christina’s new nurse helped her apply for Medicaid and SNAP benefits. She helped her get settled and connected in their new home. She provided a steady and supportive force in her world.
Christina got a job working the night shift at a pharmacy, and began building a life in a new city. But her nurse pushed her for more.
“She told me that I needed to prepare for the future. That I could do more with my life. That I needed to be able to support me and my son, no matter what else happened.”
Then Walter’s dad moved back to Chicago. Christina looked at getting a certification as an accounting specialist through the Southern Careers Institute but was admittedly full of excuses.
When Christina said she didn’t know where to start, her nurse helped her through the application process.
When she said that she didn’t have steady transportation to get to orientation, her nurse helped secure bus vouchers.
When she worried about childcare, her nurse got her connected with Workforce Solutions.
“Every time I made an excuse, she came to me with an actual resource. I didn’t think I could do it. But my nurse showed me that I could.”
Christina graduated with all honors and was on the Dean’s List, all while working and taking care of her son.
“I would get off of school at 3 pm, get a few hours with my son, and then go work my shift. I didn’t sleep. It took one year and it was hard work!”
After finishing her certification, Christina was immediately hired and spent two years as an accounting assistant at Texas Civil Rights Project. She had kept in touch with Any Baby Can, and when she saw a position on the finance team she immediately applied. What was supposed to be a part-time, temporary role became full-time employment. Christina went from being an Any Baby Can client to an Any Baby Can staff. Walter is six years old, and an imaginative, opinionated little boy.
“I’m so proud of the life we’re building. I can already say that he has way more than I had when I was growing up.”
Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, fear and hope. Any Baby Can was able to support Christina through it all and create a better future for her and her son. By partnering with parents, Any Baby Can is laying the groundwork for multi-generational change that fosters the development of a strong society.
“Without Any Baby Can, I wouldn’t be as independent as I am now. I don’t think I would have had the courage to move to Texas. Or go through with school. Or be a parent. They come to you and fill your time with knowledge. And if you’re ever in a bind, you have a safety net. I’m so grateful for this program.”