October 12, 2012
At Women's Empowerment's 2012 Annual Gala, Danielle shared her courageous story with an audience of over 500 people. We would like to share her story with you!
"My name is Danielle Keen; I am a Women’s Empowerment graduate from Session number 45. It was nearly two years ago I remember feeling terrified as if I had nothing and no one. I was addicted, pregnant, in jail, and I knew when I got out I’d be homeless. During that time I had a moment of clarity that I had nowhere to live and nowhere to fulfill the dreams of my unborn children. I say children because I wasn’t pregnant with just one child, but two little girls. So I reached out and was accepted into a recovery home, Options for Recovery.
When my twins were born not all was perfect that day, one of my babies, Emma, suffered a severe brain injury and was sent straight to the NICU, she was later diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. I asked myself -- how was I to take care of her, of them--my daughter’s Emma and Lilly?
I was committed to provide to them and promised myself I’d do whatever it took to be in a place in my life where I can nurture and care for them in the way every child deserves. They needed me to have an income, they needed me to support them. But how was I to do that in the right way? Because in order for me to be prepared and trained for employment I needed my children to be in a safe place, as it was they had never been in the care of anyone but myself. So we needed someplace not only to just babysit but they needed an environment that would enrich their lives.
At Women’s Empowerment I witnessed my children thrive! Lilly learned to crawl, and Emma, delayed from her injury, made huge developmental strides, she learned to sit up on her own and for the first time I saw her interact with other children.
Because I knew Emma and Lilly were safe and nurtured I was able to focus on my goal of obtaining stable housing and employment, and it happened. I was able to get my start here at The Grand with Capital Plaza Halls and from here I was hired with two other companies. Although the position lost its funding I was hired as an advocate for families who have children with special needs.
My dream in five years is to have my degree in early childhood education and care for other children with special needs.
Please, I encourage you to fund the dreams of hundreds, even thousands of other mothers who are out on our streets who want to be able to provide for their children and be someone they too can be proud of.
And thank you to all of you who supported my dreams. God Bless!"
Danielle delivered this speech and received a standing ovation from the audience, who was then asked to make donations in support of Women's Empowerment's onsite childcare--which provides enrichment in a safe place for children just like Danielle's daughters. That night, the audience gave more than $30,000 to support the dreams of homeless children. Thank you!