HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Young and pregnant. One Huntsville woman knows exactly what it’s like to be in that position. She grew from it, earned a college degree, got married and became a teacher. Now, she’s helping young women in that same situation be successful.
Carolyn Jackson and her husband, both retired educators, opened the RiahRose Home for Children in 2000.
“I had my first child at a very young age and he had his child at a young age,” says Jackson.
Having both been parents as teens, the couple decided to provide a place where young women can get support.
“We’re not a shelter, we’re a home,” explains Jackson. “When the ladies come to us, they develop a plan and we help them with their plan and we carry them through.”
That typically includes plans to further their education, find a job, improve their health and ultimately become independent.
“We’re helping them to become individual, self-supporting young women,” says Jackson.
The ladies who stay at RiahRose operate as a family.
“The ladies are encouraged to come in and have dinner together at 6:00pm with their children.”
They maintain a garden, cook, clean up and keep up with their chores.
“This is the wash room,” describes Jackson. “The young ladies have a calender of when they come in and they wash.”
There are amenities for adults, like a beauty parlor and amenities for kids, like a playroom full of toys and walls you can color on. The facility is licensed to hold 10 ladies. Eighteen-year-old Ty Mitchener is one of them.
“If I wasn’t here, I`m not quite sure where I’d be,” says Mitchener.
In the 2 weeks since she’s been at RiahRose, Mitchener enrolled in school, earned a scholarship and is working on landing a job.
“Right now, I’m going to school to get a license for a certified nursing assistant and they’re helping me,” says Mitchener. “And it’s getting paid for.”
It’s that kind of progress that keeps Carolyn Jackson going and $319 in Pay it Forward cash will help.
“Oh!” shouted Jackson. “Thank you.”
The women do have to pay $50 a month in rent. That covers some of the operating costs, but not all of it. Jackson assures us the $319 will be put to good use.