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November 29, 2016

A few months ago, Denise, one of our Expectant Parent Social Workers, received a message from a woman named Sierra. Sierra had been an Expectant Parent (EP) client during her most recent pregnancy in 2014, and Denise had been her worker. However, this time, Sierra wasn’t calling because she needed help. She called because she wanted to help others.

We set up an interview to meet with Sierra to talk about her experiences with Good Shepherd’s EP program and to see how Sierra is doing today. We met Sierra at her home and were welcomed in, and sat and talked about Sierra’s story.

Sierra is an incredibly self-motivated and independent young woman. She had been on her own since she was 15, and had always worked to provide for herself and two young sons. She had a job, a place to live, and was pregnant with her third child. However, this pregnancy brought on unforeseen health complications, and Sierra was not able to work during her pregnancy. Her landlord was untrustworthy, and created an unsafe environment for Sierra and her children. Because of paperwork hurdles, Sierra’s two school aged children were not able to be enrolled in school. Additionally, Sierra had friends that were relying on her for help. Sierra’s stress levels were high, and she describes this time in her life as one of her lowest. Sierra had recently moved to St. Louis from Mississippi, and knew very few people.

Sierra had previously been in DFS care and was familiar with different resources available. She called around to different agencies, and wasn’t able to get in contact with anyone. However, when she called Good Shepherd, Denise called her back the very next day, and soon came to visit with Sierra. Sierra and Denise worked together to get her and her children into a better living situation, helping her pay part of her rent until she could move her family to a better location. When Sierra was feeling down or stressed, she would call Denise, and Denise would always answer or call her right back, even if she was in a meeting. “Every time I met with Denise, I felt better”, and the two kept meeting and working together. During Sierra’s pregnancy, when she was unable to work, she started a home day care, which Denise helped her to establish. However, Sierra set her sights higher. She began applying for jobs before she gave birth, and began praying.

Sierra delivered healthy baby Ace, but had some complications that kept her in the hospital for a few days after the birth. While she was in the hospital bed holding her son, she got a call from an unknown number. Not knowing the number, she was wary of answering it. However, baby Ace reached out and swiped the phone screen, forcing Sierra to answer. On the other end of the line was a woman from the job Sierra had applied for, asking Sierra if she could come in for an interview. Sierra was soon discharged, went home, showered, and was at the interview two hours later. She was so determined and motivated to create a better life for herself that she interviewed just two days after having a baby. “I aced the interview, and my now boss asked me why I was limping. I told her that I was in lot of pain since I had just had a baby forty eight hours before”. Sierra got the job, and is now on the fast track to becoming manager.

With the support and guidance of the EP program at Good Shepherd, Sierra was able to get on her feet and is now thriving. She’s moved into a great house, with enough room for her and her children. Her older boys are now 8 and 9, and are in a good school district and are going to school every day. Baby Ace will turn 2 soon, and he is happy, healthy, and “talking a lot”. She’s even recommended friends to the program, helping to gather baby clothes, a crib, and a car seat for a friend who is pregnant. “I would recommend this program to anyone who is pregnant, or who has young kids and needs help”. Sierra sang the praises of the program, and even talked about how, because she was doing so well, Denise didn’t need to come visit her anymore.  “I saw her full potential at day 1, and I just helped her to realize that potential”, said Denise. Sierra said she was very satisfied with every aspect of the program, and just wishes that more people knew how great Good Shepherd’s Expectant Parent Program is.

Please consider supporting clients like Sierra and helping us to promote a culture of life here in St. Louis: