MelissaI was homeless and pregnant at the age of 19 and came to MELD. I lived in the MELD Homeless Shelter then moved into MELD’s Transitional living program where my daughter Ariella and I lived until I was 21 and able to live independently in the community. While I was at MELD, I attended MELD Young Mom’s Support Groups and I was also involved in MELD’s Employment program.

Thru the program MELD found a job for me in the community where I was mentored and learned invaluable skills that I have been able to use through life. After leaving MELD, I came back as a MELD volunteer & group facilitator. I still come back and talk to young moms groups, as well as talk to community businesses and companies who are supporters to MELD about how MELD guided me in the right direction as a teen parent. Now I also volunteer on MELD fundraising committee for tonight’s Sports Celebration event. I currently work at Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling as their Crisis Intervention Advocate and Volunteer Coordinator. My daughter Ariella is now 22, working and going to school to work in the medical field.

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