We first met “Renisha” as a 12th grader with a three-year-old little boy of her own. She had been arrested on charges of aggravated assault, the result of an argument that got out of hand which now threatened to upend her life.
Renisha’s childhood was a heartbreaking one. She’d cycled in and out of the Department of Children and Family Services as her mother struggled with severe mental illness. As is the case for so many people in our community, Renisha’s mother didn’t receive proper medical care. Mental health services are extremely hard to access, especially for those living in poverty.
For years Renisha floated between places to stay with no stable relationships she could rely on. Understandably reluctant to live with her son in a DCFS group home, Renisha currently moves between a friend’s house, her stepmother’s, and her child’s grandmother’s house. It’s obviously a difficult situation.
Since her arrest, LCCR has worked closely with Renisha to create more stability and access additional supports. Renisha had none of the vital documents needed to live independently. LCCR helped her obtain a copy of her birth certificate, Social Security card, and Louisiana ID card. This in turn enabled her to obtain and maintain stable employment. We helped her access childcare so she can regularly attend work and provide for her son. When needed, we also provided her and her son transportation to various appointments and obligations.
Beyond simply making ends meet, Renisha’s real life goal was to complete high school. Given her responsibilities as a single teen mom, Renisha recognized that traditional school couldn’t serve her needs. We worked with the school district to get her enrolled in an online program for finishing out her degree. She has been thriving and is on pace to graduate soon.
Renisha has been an absolute pleasure to work with. She is responsible, flexible, and incredibly determined to give her child the stable life that she never had herself. Because of the incredible progress she’s been making, her case was recently closed out by Juvenile Court—freeing her from the legal system. We have no doubt that she will graduate and continue to be a wonderful mother to her young son.