Shamieka & J’cory
Current Residents, Minneapolis
When Shamieka first heard about Jeremiah Program, she admits that “it sounded too good to be true.” As a single parent, she was struggling to find reliable child care so she could work. “I would get a job and then child care would fall apart so I’d lose my job,” she says. “I had given up on going to college, but Jeremiah changed that.”
Today, Shamieka is finishing her associate degree in addiction drug counseling at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. She intends to begin her journey in summer 2016 to getting her master’s degree at Metropolitan State University. Currently, she’s completing an internship at a treatment facility, which she has loved.
Shamieka got pregnant at age 19. “I didn’t know anything about parenting, really, anything about anything when I moved into Jeremiah,” she says. “How was I supposed to care for a child when I was still one myself? I had lived with family my whole life. I’ve never had to balance a checkbook, pay bills, care for a baby (that did not come with instructions!) or be the head of the household,” she says. “I have grown up and learned a lot since I first moved in.”
Shamieka says Jeremiah gave her hope for both herself and her son that she thought she would never have. “Before Jeremiah Program, I would see many happy people graduating from college and living their lives with great careers. I was very happy for them, but I never envisioned I could do that same thing until getting into Jeremiah Program. My eyes were open to the many great things that this world has to offer. I was excited and ready to learn and become great for myself and for my son.”
She will be one of very few in her family to earn a college degree. “This is a huge accomplishment for me,” she says. “I want to make huge footprints for my son to step into, and I want him to know I will be with him every step of the way.”
Four year-old J’cory is doing beautifully in the child development center. “He loves his teachers and they work closely with me,” Shamieka says. “He’s a helper and lover. He’s a nurturer. He absolutely loves to learn.”
Having life skills coaches downstairs has been an amazing resource for Shamieka. She knows that when she has a problem, she can ask for help—just downstairs from her apartment.
Most of all, she has learned that she has the power to put people in the front row of her theater (a concept learned in empowerment). She has opened up and learned to trust, as a result, and now taken on a leadership role on the Resident Council.
“I love being together with the moms. It feels really good to be around people who have the same goals, who are working for higher education and being a better parent. After you’ve had a child, giving up is not an option. You have to strive for them. I tell new moms, don’t be afraid of change. Change may be scary at first, but no change, means no progression. You have dreams, yes, the ones that you talked about in kindergarten. You are now ready to start taking the necessary steps to make those dreams happen. I’m living mine.”