In 2004 as a sophomore at University of Central Florida, at the age of 20, I experienced an unplanned pregnancy. To say there was a lack of resources on campus for someone in my situation would be an understatement. They just simply didn’t exist. It was only with the immense financial, emotional, and pragmatic support of my family and friends that I was able to graduate in the spring of 2006 while also successfully navigating the first years of parenthood to my son, Michael.
18 years is a long time to reflect on the fortune and privileges that were bestowed upon me. (Yes; my son Michael will be 18 and a senior in high school this year. Cue the happy/sad tears!). Over the last ten years or so, I’ve felt continually pulled to find a way to be for others what my ‘village’ was for me: a place of refuge, a source of strength, and a launching pad to an even better and more fulfilling future than I dreamed up when I was 18 years old.
In January of this year, the gentle nudge of thought became an urgent tug to act. My first step was to find out if any kind of support for Student-Moms existed. Discovering Baby Steps felt providential.
To me, Baby Steps embodies every single aspect of authentic, practical, loving care and support that Student-Moms need to thrive. Their vision to empower young women to pursue their academic goals, while learning and growing as mothers and individuals, is one I share in its entirety. I couldn’t be more excited, proud, or ready to meet this moment and be part of what I know is just the beginning of a life changing organization for campuses and collegiate women across the United States. I have all the respect and admiration in the world for the whole Baby Steps team who’ve invested so much to bring this to fruition. I’m beyond honored and humbled to help make it happen at UCF.
Maureen has lived in Orlando for almost 20 years. She’s a wife to Jim and a mother to Michael, Maggie, Ruby, and Charlie. She’s worked in both education and the government sector. She’s a proud graduate of the University of Central Florida and also holds a master’s degree from Florida State University.
By giving a voice to those whose stories include unplanned pregnancies, we hope to empower those who may be in the midst of their own. These are The Stories We Tell.