Tomorrow, a little girl turns 3 years old. That’s not remarkable – it happens to children every day, all over the world. What is remarkable about this little girl is her Mom and the community program which made her success possible.
Leslyanne Lopez graduated high school eleven days ago in Indiana. It was something that she thought would never happen for her when she found herself pregnant in her freshman year. Against the odds, she did graduate from high school and she’s about to start classes in graphic design at Ivy Tech Community College in Ft. Wayne.
Leslyanne was able to raise her child and continue her education with the help of the ECHO program. ECHO, which stands for Education Creates Hope and Opportunity, made it possible for Leslyann to spend the past four years going to school, holding down a job, participating in counseling and parenting classes, and being a mother to her daughter, all at the same time.
ECHO is a partnership between the Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities and is in schools in Ft. Wayne and the surrounding counties in Indiana. The program aims to help teen girls beat the incredible statistics that come with teen pregnancy.
With ECHO’s help, Leslyanne found quality daycare for her daughter, help with nutrition, vitamins and wellness check-ups and especially with goal-setting and motivation. ECHO helped her understand that achieving her goal of graduation and college was within her reach as long as she understood what needed to be done each day and did it. In that simple way, each day of her life led her closer to her goal of being able to give her daughter the best life possible.
So tomorrow, Leslyanne will give her daughter Amara a third birthday party. And every day, she gives her a wonderful role model to follow. Happy birthday Amara, and keep up the good work, Leslyanne & ECHO!
And remember…Feed Your Good Dog, so your good dog always wins!