Finding her voice to reunite with her children

on 14 March 2018

Jamyra was on her way to becoming another statistic—a former foster care kid lost in adulthood. Luckily for her, Turning Points for Children had just partnered with Youth Villages to bring YVLifeSet to Philadelphia.

Jamyra was only 14 when she became pregnant with her first child. She dropped out of school in the 9th grade, gave birth to another child, and bounced from foster care to shelters and reluctantly back to her mother’s house. Her mother was struggling with an alcohol use disorder and was not able to provide support, nor was the father of Jamyra’s children who was incarcerated.

Jamyra was 20 years old and pregnant with her third child when she met YVLifeSet specialist Lillian Penn. She was homeless and coach surfing. Her children had been taken away from her, and social workers didn’t think the young mother could provide a safe home. But Penn saw things differently. 

“Jamyra was a nurturing mother, and there was never any question about her ability to parent," Penn said. "[She] had a hard time speaking up for herself, so I encouraged her to talk to her case manager and build a bridge. She learned that relationships matter, and she that she does have a voice.” 

It paid off. Lillian helped Jamyra find transitional housing and she was awarded unsupervised visits with her children. With her new-found confidence, she also landed a job with a home health business. 

Through the support of the YVLifeSet program, Jamyra’s life has changed dramatically in just six months. She’s working to be the parent her children deserve and has set a new goal: to be reunified with her children.

Find out more at the upcoming Kids at Heart Gala on Thursday, May 3rd at The Franklin Institute where we will share exciting news about Jamyra and her family.

Thank you to our major program supporters: Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Blue Meridian Partners, The Barra Foundation, The Homeless Assistance Fund Inc., Ticket to Dream Foundation, Caroline Alexander Buck Foundation, Edward M. Story Memorial Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation, and The TJX Foundation. 

Photo credit: Peggy Baud Woolsey 


Story credit: Youth Villages