There comes a time in everyone’s life when they need a fresh start. The non-profit organization, The New Beginnings of Southwest Florida, is on a mission to arm young single mothers with the tools they’ll need to get ahead in life.
The organization opened its doors nearly seven years ago in Cape Coral. “The organization gives single moms the opportunity to get their education and sustain themselves,” executive director, Nadege Pierre explained.
Each young woman is provided free room and board and live in their own two bedrooms and two bathroom apartment. “We don’t do any sharing just because we want to empower the single mothers to take ownership of this apartment,” said Nadege.
To be accepted into the program, the young women must fill out a 20-page application and go through a detailed interview process.
One of its newest residents, Shiara, became pregnant when she was 16-years-old. Shiara went to a teacher for help, and that’s when she learned about The New Beginnings of SWFL.
“I’m hoping by the time I graduate from the program I can have a degree and be able to work and make enough money to support myself and my daughter,” Shiara shared.
The organization also takes in young mothers who don’t have a safe place to live. Katalina was homeless on the streets and sleeping at bus stations with her son. She found The New Beginnings of SWFL while researching for solutions online.
“I want to be financially stable,” Katalina shared. “Being here is helping me to become goal oriented.”
Every evening, the young ladies prepare and gather for a family style dinner. And every Sunday they attend church.
Each participant in the program has two years to get their lives in order, which at times comes with challenges.
“Never give up,” are words that keep Shiara going. “It’s really hard being a mother. But it’s especially hard while you are still enrolled in high school,” she explained. “Just don’t give up and when it gets hard just look at your child whether it is a girl or boy and remember that you are doing it for them.”
Additional Reporting by Tianna Jenkins and Gabriela Milian