Mother: Room At The Inn 'helped me get my priorities in order'
CHARLOTTE — It's been almost seven years since Karen (last name withheld for privacy) turned to Room At The Inn for help. She was 19, pregnant, alone and scared. Room At The Inn in Charlotte gave Karen a helping hand, providing support and encouragement for her and her baby daughter.
Karen speaks frankly when she talks about her experience with Room At The Inn (or "RATI"), revealing that she "had to grow up fast" as a young, single mother. "Room At The Inn helped me get my priorities in order ... be a good role model for my child at such a young age," she says.
Karen found out she was pregnant in April 2005, when she was just 19 and living with the father of her child in Rock Hill, S.C. A Catholic, she knew from the start that "abortion was never an option," recalling attending pro-life marches in Columbia, S.C., with her mother as a child, noting that "experiences like that stick with you."
Karen knew she wanted to keep and raise her baby herself. She moved back home with her parents and away from a dysfunctional relationship with her boyfriend, but she "struggled with how I was going to raise a child alone. I did not want my parents raising another child. They had already raised six of their own."
In January 2006, Karen moved into the Charlotte-based Room At The Inn for expecting and new mothers in need.
It was thanks to her family that Karen ended up at there, encouraged by her older sister and mother. She recalls that she "was not thrilled with the idea at first; I really did think it sounded too good to be true."
She went for a visit and talked with the counselors, who gave her a tour and described what the living situation would be like.
In the end, Karen decided to seek Room At The Inn's help because "it was a place that I knew my daughter and I would be safe, and it would give me time to get on my feet without relying on my parents too much.
"The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like the right choice for me."
Room At The Inn, with its opportunities to learn new skills, weekly counseling and spiritual guidance, opens many doors for young, single mothers.
Most importantly, as Karen points out, it "gives you a chance to create a positive, strong future for your child." This, of course, is the essential motive of the non-profit organization: to protect and guide young mothers so that they can nurture their children, providing them with stability so that they can begin a brighter, more secure future.
With the opening of its new maternity facility at Belmont Abbey College this week, Room At The Inn will be able to help many more young women like Karen, giving them opportunities to flourish in their vocations as new mothers.
Karen says she is excited about the new Belmont facility and the options that it will give other young mothers like her.
"I hope the mothers staying there are able to get as much out of the program as I did. RATI offers so much, I hope the mothers can really see that and use the assistance to help them provide for their children and be stronger women and parents." She also encourages women in need to "listen to your instincts and know that whatever happens, God does have a solution."
— Morgan Castillo, correspondent
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