Selina moved to Plano in 2012 and was a student at Plano West High School, where she met a young man who became her boyfriend. They dated for a few months and Selena ended up getting pregnant. She was a senior in high school, had just turned 18 and wanted to have the baby.
Selina’s mother did not take the news of the pregnancy well, deeming her daughter a legal adult and kicked her out of the house as a result.
“My boyfriend took me in, living with his mother and brother in an apartment before moving to Mesquite as a group when his mother got a house,” Selina said.
Unfortunately that situation was not very smooth, didn’t last long and Selina and her boyfriend found themselves without a roof over their heads.
“We did the best we could, living out of his car for a couple of months. It certainly wasn’t fun. I was pregnant and still trying to get through my senior year in high school. There was a lot going on. We were living in the car for about a week or two when a friend told us about City House and that it was a possible option for some help.”
So Selina and her boyfriend came over to City House’s Youth Resource Center and were able to talk with a case manager. Selina was able to move into the TLP girls house in Plano, while her boyfriend moved into the boys house.
“I was really nervous and didn’t know what to expect when I first got in the house,” she said. “There was still a lot going on, but now we had a roof over our head and it was a good situation. He had a car and we took that to high school each day and I also had a job at Garden Ridge. I was pregnant and got tired very easily. I ended up doing home schooling as a result.”
Baby Nadia was born a few months later. After leaving City House, Selina ended up splitting up from the baby’s dad and they went separate ways. Selina is doing fine now and has plans to attend Richland College next semester.
“I’ve since met a fantastic guy named Chase and we’ve been together for about eight months,” Selina said. “I have my daughter and we live together in an apartment. I’m also attending nursing school. My goal is to become a doctor and possibly a pediatric surgeon. Helping babies, I would be very excited about that.”
Selina says she is very thankful and appreciative of what City House did for her, with one of her cherished memories being a baby shower that the staff and fellow residents threw for her.
“My experience with City House made me more mature in my ways of thinking and made me realize not to take things for granted. I should strive hard to do whatever I want to do in life. Being able to have a home and people around me that supported me – that was the best thing. They helped me get to where I needed to get to.”
Elise describes herself as “your average kid growing up.” Her parents were divorced; Mom was an art teacher and Dad had a normal 9-to-5 job, and she lived in a typical neighborhood. Elise had a dog, friends, Girl Scouts, was involved in youth group. But things started to change for her in middle school and definitely high school.
“I was a chess piece in parents’ relationship, a lot of it over child support,” Elise said. “Mom became less supportive and less responsible. I went to live with Dad but felt like a guest in my own home. He was controlling and verbally abusive; I finally was scared to live there. So I left at 20, filled with depression and anxiety. Nowhere to turn, I lived in my car for a few months, couch-surfed some, but I couldn’t go back to Mom or Dad’s.”
Resilient as they come, Elise leaned on her network of friends, both old and new. She always looked for ways to help them too, even when she needed some herself.
“I actually found City House while researching to help a friend who needed a place to stay,” she said. “I never thought I would be a candidate for it since I had parents’ homes I should have been able to go to. But I couldn’t go back there. So I called City House and they accepted me into the program.”
The program that Elise was part of is City House’s Transitional Living Program (TLP), designed for young adults ages 17-21, who are homeless or in a negative situation at home. Elise was a resident back in 2013.
“City House gave me a ‘home’ for the first time in my life,” Elise said. “They surrounded me with people who supported me and helped me learn to achieve what I wanted to achieve. They’ve helped with resources – financial aid, helped me get into school, taught me some great money management principles. City House has given me a foundation to build on. While I was there, I could concentrate on working and going to school and not where I was going to sleep that night. I saw so much purpose and opportunities that I never would have seen before.”
Now 22, Elise often drops in to visit and see how things are going. Her connection with the organization hasn’t stopped since she left the TLP program and continues to work toward her career goals.
I did a lot during my time with City House. I was able to get my Esthetician’s license and take classes at Collin County Community College. My goal is to eventually earn a degree in theater and pursue a career in the performing arts, and I continue to work towards that.
“I’m so thankful for the people I’ve met through City House, and I enjoy touching base with my friends on the staff. My life has been impacted and changed for the better. I learned how to stand on my own two feet. I always look back at that time of my life and know it is where things turned the corner for me.”
City House is dedicated to providing homeless children and teens in North Texas with emergency shelter and transitional residential services.