"From the very beginning I felt safe and loved."
Christmas Day was very special for 20-year-old Sarah.
“It was Aayden’s first birthday!” she says with a radiant smile.
Three months ago Sarah and Aayden came to Covenant House looking for stability and support. “When I got pregnant my mom asked me to leave,” she says as Aayden naps peacefully in her arms. “I have five siblings and my mom said there was just no room or money. I kind of understood, but it still hurt to have to leave…
“I stayed with Aayden’s father for a little while and then with some other friends, but it was not until I found Covenant House that things started to change for the better.”
Sarah remembers the exact moment she walked into Covenant House. “It was 11:23 pm when the staff welcomed me in. From the very beginning I felt safe and loved. They asked if I was hungry, if Aayden was hungry or if we needed anything. It was such a scary time in my life walking into a shelter, but Covenant House didn’t feel like a shelter. It felt like a place where each person who walks in really matters. Me and Aayden felt at home right away.”
Sarah took advantage of every opportunity at Covenant House. She found a job and started saving her money, and after four weeks she applied and was accepted into the Covenant House long-term Rights of Passage program. Today she lives with Covenant House staff and five other young moms and babies in a beautiful home in the Bronx.
“I feel very blessed,” says Sarah. “Aayden is such a good baby, so mellow. Last Christmas was such a hectic time with him being born on Christmas night. This Christmas I feel like we can celebrate as a family, with my mom, with Aayden’s father … and with the other moms and babies and staff and volunteers here at Covenant House. I feel like I have the support now to be happy and to move on with my life.
“I would like to go college and study social work or early childhood education,” says Sarah as Aayden slowly wakes up from his nap, hungry and looking for a bottle. “I have learned a lot in my life so far, and I want to keep learning. And I want to be the best mom I can possibly be for Aayden. He means everything to me.”