Do you ever wonder about the impact you can have on the life of a child?


Lake House PaintingLet me tell you a story about the impact the Janet Mitchell Winstead Lake House program had on the life of Renée.


Her eyes were heavy with the weight of the pain, hidden by the swelling of the broken cheekbone. Renée had been beaten again; this time it was made worse by the impact on the child growing in her womb through the repeated assaults by the men in her life.


Renée came to the Janet Mitchell Winstead Lake House at age 14 six months pregnant. She was scared and hurting from the years of physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse, but she didn’t want to be just another statistic. While she didn’t know that she was one of the 1,247 teen mothers giving birth each day, Renée knew that she wanted to find success in life without giving up her child.


She entered the program with the goal of being able to return to her community without depending on the system that had for so much of her life let her down. Through the guidance of her professional parents in the Lake House, Renée learned independent living and parenting skills while pursuing her high school diploma. She continued her education beyond her diploma and worked in fast food to gain practical experience in the business world. Throughout, Renée was able to be a loving mother to her son, making sure that he felt the caring, supportive love she had missed in her formative years.


Renée is one of the success stories of the Janet Mitchell Winstead Lake House program. Now living independently as a single mother who doesn’t have to “knock on the doors of the department of social services,” Renée’s ultimate goal is to one day return to serve as a co-parent for the next young teenage girl left expecting a child.


Renée’s success was helped by so many connected to Boys and Girls Homes. Her future is brighter because of her experience in the Janet Mitchell Winstead Lake House program. And it is a program that continues to impact the future of our communities by breaking the cycle of abuse, neglect and dependence.


Knowing that I get to be a part of an organization making such a difference in the lives of children inspires me daily.


I hope knowing that you are a part of this story inspires you, as your willingness to read and share our stories allows more people to learn about the work being done to make futures brighter. Thank you.


Melissa Hopkins is the Director of Public Relations and Marketing at Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

Learn more about the Janet Mitchell Winstead Lake House Program.


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