This year's South Jersey Banquet was an evening of profound impact for many reasons. Our mission never waivers in importance, just as the need to support moms and babies remains critical and this fundraiser does a wonderful job of raising awareness and funds in the area closest to our Riverside home. This year's event also had a special mom in attendance who bravely and with joy gave her testimony.
Turcoise Adams's speech was moving and edifying. In order to best care for women and their children, we need to hear their stories, truly listen to their experiences and what they feel is needed as a mother looking for answers, looking for hope. As a movement and as individuals, we should be talking less and asking more questions to those living in this moment. With this goal in mind, and with her permission, I have included Turcoise's unedited speech she presented to the guests at our South Jersey Banquet. Please also enjoy a highlight video from the event, via the link at the end of this article.
Good Evening, my name is Turcoise Adams and I am a current resident of Good Counsel Homes.
I was raised down in Egg Harbor Township NJ near the shore. I had a tough upbringing being the youngest of 12. I was raised well, educated, and taught to be a strong young woman. In my early life I had a phenomenal relationship with my mother, however, I was forced into many childhood hardships and losses at a very young age.
Both of my parents are still married after 33 years. Unfortunately both of them fell ill and I was forced to step up and be an adult- All at the young age of 9. I began to waste my life away and wanted nothing else but to relieve all of the stress I was under. I started partying in Philly, living an ugly lifestyle and wasting each day away living a selfish life. I had no idea what I wanted and had no support system.
I found out I was pregnant back in February and I couldn't believe it. At 2 months along I made the decision to abort my child, but then a few weeks passed. It was my surgery date, and I just couldn't do it. Something in my mind told me that having this baby would open my life to a new beginning. Something inside me knew I would not regret it. With the help of my own mom and aunt we found Our Lady of Good Counsel, and I’ve never turned back since.
I came to Good Counsel on March 3rd. I had no idea what to expect. I’d never been homeless before so I came in thinking the worst. In my head I pictured run down shelters like in SVU. I walked through the doors completely scared for me and my baby. I met Mrs Dominique my very first day and I felt like I was a part of a family. She had cooked steak, green beans and mac and cheese my very first night. She treated me like I mattered. I knew I could turn my life around in this place.
When I got here I was a high school dropout, no job, no income, dirt broke with only a pair of crocs on my feet. I was determined to find a job and finish school. Fast forward to 6 months. I have a job, I graduated high school, I am enrolled in a nursing program, I am cpr certified and currently enrolled in a cna program. I've taken advantage of every opportunity given by Good Counsel. The opportunity to further my experience, my life, my knowledge and the understanding of being a parent. I've really gotten close to Ms. Anissa. She is my second mother who worked with me on my struggles and truly listened to me.She has helped me recognize my strengths and weaknesses and she has pushed me to be the best person I can be. I hope every girl that comes to Good Counsel or becomes involved takes advantage of every opportunity. Good Counsel Homes is more than a shelter. It is a family, sisterhood and a place where staff knows your comfort and will push you to be better than what you were when you first came through the doors. Since being here I have overcome so much. My past does not define me. If it wasn't for Chris Bell and the amazing donors of Good Counsel homes I would be out on the street pregnant, not knowing where to turn and having no resources to do so, so with the utmost thanks I appreciate everything and everyone who made Good Counsel Homes possible.
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