Making Dreams Come True
Lera had big dreams. She was bright, enthusiastic, and guided by an ambition to make a difference. At 19, Lera moved to the United States from a small village in eastern Botswana, driven to earn degrees in education and business. She planned to return to Southern Africa in hopes of forming a school for girls. Lera arrived in American ready to make her dreams come true.
Attending school would not be possible without an income. Once she found housing, Lera secured a full-time job working nights in a nursing home. She planned to work for a year to save for classes while completing applications to the local universities. But slowly, her path shifted.
Falling in love was unexpected. Lera met Marcus through a co-worker and their relationship moved quickly. Three months after meeting, Lera discovered she was pregnant. She and Marcus decided to get married before the baby was born, finding a small apartment and setting up the nursery. After moving in and welcoming their daughter, Lera gave up her full-time job to stay home. Soon she began to notice a shift in Marcus’ behavior.
He was going out with friends, each time staying out later and later, and usually returning intoxicated. Some nights he would become erratic and aggressive, shouting obscenities at Lera and her 14-month old, Kati. Marcus continued this for months and eventually became physically abusive. When Lera woke one morning swollen and bruised, she dressed Kati, packed the diaper bag with a few essentials and walked out. She was five months pregnant with her second child.
A local shelter for battered women provided protection from Marcus, but it was not a permanent solution. Unemployed and without a support system, Lera needed help. The shelter referred her to LFCS for pregnancy and parenting services. Her LFCS case worker helped find permanent housing, as well as provided parenting education, job placement assistance and guidance to ensure her safety. By the time her son Miles was born, Lera felt able to care for herself and her two kids.
Over a year has passed since the day Lera made the decision to leave Marcus. Although it has been a difficult road, she knows her future looks bright. Next month, the divorce will be final. Kati and Miles are thriving and attend a child development center near her home in the city. Lera actively participates in Nurturing Network parenting events with LFCS and now has a solid foundation of skills to be an amazing mom. Through her hard work and commitment, she also discovered a passion for supporting other young moms like herself. In Mid-January she will begin pursuing a degree in social work.
We are thrilled to see Lera chasing her dreams once again! If you’d like to help moms like her, make a gift to LFCS today. In 2019, nearly 800 moms learned skills to succeed because of friends like you.