Four hours into a late night visit to the Reedley Hospital emergency room, a doctor told Elvira and her family the news.
“I already knew I was pregnant but I just didn’t tell anybody.”
The pain that had brought the 14-year-old to the hospital was due to her pregnancy, a condition that she had not shared with her family until that moment. Elvira’s mother didn’t take it well.
“She was really upset with me. She told me the worst things.”
Elvira decided to move in with her significant other, the father of her unborn child. At first, this worked, but eventually, she started feeling unhappiness and stress from being an expectant teen in someone else’s home. Elvira recalls physical symptoms brought on by the stress.
“It’s something that a pregnant woman shouldn’t be going through.” She remembers. “I didn’t know what a bad relationship was.”
After moving back in with her mother and breaking up with her significant other, Elvira recalls hitting a low point.
“I was really, really sad. My self-esteem went down. I didn’t feel motivated.” She recalls as the weight of being a teen mother began to set in. “Reality hit me in the face. How am I going to get those Pampers? How am I going to get those wipes? How am I going to get those socks? I’m still a child myself, about to have a child.”
While pregnant, a social worker suggested Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission’s Adolescent Family Life Program. Elvira didn’t wait to apply.
“I’ve been in AFLP since I was 14. Everybody wants to do better.”
And do better she did. After her daughter was born in 2015, Elvira credits AFLP with helping her develop the confidence and tools needed to make a beneficial change in herself.
“In order to do good for your child, you need to work on yourself first. If I want to see a change, it has to be within me.”
Elvira is now a decorated scholar and athlete, having been awarded ‘Student of the Month’ not once but twice and named ‘Rookie of the Year’ for her high school wrestling team. She says AFLP helped her develop goals.
“Back then I didn’t know what goals were.”
She does now.
Elvira plans to pursue her Master’s degree and train with the FBI in Virginia as a crime scene investigator, eventually moving to Los Angeles and building her dream home with her daughter. This ambition, Elvira says, wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of the staff at AFLP.
“I thank AFLP for being my guidance and always being there by my side. Although you are a single mom, you are a teen mom, everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it.”