In July of 2010 Allison came to Street Outreach seeking a place to eat and take a shower. Little did we know at that time that we were fostering the beginning of a beautiful, long-term relationship in which the staff at SOP would have the absolute honor of witnessing this young lady’s transformation into the remarkable, strong woman she is today.
Allison came from a family plagued with chronic drug and alcohol abuse. Despite the emotional abuse and neglect at home, she had made it to her sophomore year of high school and was fully determined to graduate. Not long after Allison’s introduction to SOP, she met a young man who was much more seasoned to life on the streets. They started a relationship, and Allison became accustomed to the culture of youth homelessness. Allison sought refuge from her abusive home life in the protection and care she felt from her boyfriend and other homeless youth. Life on the streets became a safer alternative for her than her situation at home. She eventually dropped out of high school and took to the streets full time. She and her boyfriend set up camp on the outskirts of Santa Fe and lived there for many months. Over the course of the following two years, Allison regularly took care of all of her basic needs through resources provided at SOP. Through these daily interactions Allison formed caring, trusting relationships with our staff. Beyond providing essential food and hygiene resources, staff provided support around staying safe on the streets and in her relationships.
In February of 2012 Allison became pregnant. With no one else to go to, she turned to the staff at SOP to lend an ear, offer support, and provide information on all of her pregnancy options. Together, Allison and her partner decided to embark on the journey through pregnancy and parenting. She began working with our Pregnant and Parenting Service Coordinator, and her partner began attending Young Fathers of Santa Fe meetings at SOP. Through these supportive services, Allison got registered for health insurance, received prenatal wellness care, and moved into stable housing. Additionally, they received relationship support and parenting education.
On December 18th, 2012, Allison gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Allison brought her daughter back to her very own home the next day. The proud new parents were stocked with all the essential baby gear, and a fridge full of nourishment for the journey to come. As any parent is well aware, the first few months with a new baby is a whirlwind of emotions, sleep deprivation, and stress. It is an experience that cannot be explained prior to going through it. Allison remained actively involved in the Pregnant and Parenting Youth Initiative, receiving support and education throughout each new challenge and each new milestone.
In December of 2013, one year after the birth of their daughter, Allison’s partner left the family and moved out of state. As a single parent, Allison’s strength and perseverance were once again tested; and once again, she demonstrated tremendous resiliency. Allison is working toward her goals of returning to school and seeking part-time employment. She continues to reside in the home she obtained through her work with SOP. Furthermore, Allison has proved to be an amazing mother. She is working with the Pregnant and Parenting Service Coordinator to explore day care options for her daughter, and receives continuous education around parenting and early childhood development. Street outreach celebrates the holiday season by giving small gifts to each of the youth that we work with. When asked what was on her wish list, Allison selflessly replied with a list of gifts for her daughter. Street Outreach was happy to supply her with new clothes and a new play pen. Despite the history of substance abuse in Allison’s family, and the prevalence of dependency in street culture, she has taken the initiative to keep all illicit substances away from herself and her daughter. When asked how she feels, Allison reports feeling empowered, confident, and optimistic about her future.