From the Inside Out
Teie was completing her first year of nursing school and struggling to pay the bills. “I was dedicated to finishing school, but knew that I would not be able to graduate if things remained as they were,” she says. While she was steadfast in both her pursuit of education and her commitment to being the best mom she could be, Teie found herself in a financial situation that simply was not sustainable.
They had just barely been getting by with the support of Teie’s mother, but eventually the weight of Teie’s family became too much for her mother to bear. She knew that something had to change. After hearing about the incredible impact that Gracewood had made in the life of a friend, Teie applied to the program knowing that the future of her family hung in the balance. She and her four-year-old daughter, Kennedy, moved to Gracewood in January 2017.
Teie is a both a full-time working mom and student. Being at Gracewood has not only allowed her to pursue her education and career-related dreams, but it has also given her the opportunity to focus on learning how to balance life as a single mother. “At Gracewood, I feel that I have the space and support to learn, grow, and even to fail,” she says. Teie has been able to develop stronger time-management skills, focus on her education, and build lifelong friendships with other women who are walking through similar circumstances. She’s also been able to focus on spending time with Kennedy and deepen their special mother/daughter bond. Kennedy has loved sharing this experience with her mom and watching her grow into a strong, confident woman. Along with her mom, Kennedy has also thrived in the community at Gracewood and she’s been able to build sweet friendships with many of the other children and single mothers in residence.
Before Gracewood, Teie wasn’t involved in church and felt disconnected from the Lord. However, through Bible studies and the encouragement of Gracewood staff, she has learned to lean into the Lord when things get tough, trust Him when she does not understand, and rejoice in His goodness when an obstacle is overcome. “He has truly used Gracewood to change my life from the inside out,” she says.
In December of 2017, Teie graduated with her associate degree in nursing and she has been working as a home healthcare nurse for a young boy who has significant primary medical needs. She loves her job and the opportunity it gives her to extend love and grace to others. In addition to working full-time, Teie is also enrolled in a nine-month academic program and will complete her bachelor’s degree this December.
“Teie has worked so hard to get back on her feet,” shares Vinicia White, Gracewood’s Program Director. “We are just so proud of all that she has accomplished during her time here. She and Kennedy are a joy and they have both been fully engaged in everything Gracewood has had to offer them.”
Earlier this year, she and Kennedy were invited to participate in Gracewood’s pilot Independent Living program. This transitional program gives single mothers who have successfully completed the Residential program, like Teie, an opportunity to learn to live independently with their families while still having direct access to their support system at Gracewood. Teie has continued to flourish in her transition from the Residential to Independent Living program. “It makes me feel good to be able to depend on myself again because it reminds me that I can do it,” she says. “For so long, I felt helpless and like I was a victim of my circumstances, but that is not the case anymore. I am capable and equipped.”
When Teie first entertained the idea of coming to Gracewood, she feared that it would feel like admitting that she had failed as a strong, determined woman and as a single mom. But on the contrary, she now realizes that it was the very best thing she could have done for herself and for her family. “The support and skills you learn at Gracewood are 100% worth every sacrifice it takes to get there,” she shares. Teie is confident that, without Gracewood, she would never have graduated from nursing school or had the skills that she needed to raise her daughter to be a strong woman who acknowledges her need for help and support.
After she graduates with her bachelor’s degree in December, Teie plans to continue her education by pursuing a nursing residency program so that she can become a labor and delivery nurse. She believes that her life experiences have uniquely equipped her to come alongside women in some of the most fragile and empowering moments of their lives. Teie knows that, because of Gracewood, she has experienced first-hand the redemptive and redeeming nature of Christ and she is confident that the best is yet to come for both her and her family.