CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Florence Crittenton is a nonprofit that houses young women in need of help as they enter into motherhood. The program has been in Charleston since 1897 and next year it will lose nearly a third of its funding.
"Now we provide intense services for them. Residences, medical care, counseling, life skills. Everything they need so they can be self-sufficient, responsible mothers," program executive director Lisa VanBergen said.
According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, without these services most women will drop out of school, many of their children would be victims of child abuse, many of their daughters will repeat the cycle, and many of their sons will end up in prison.
"We're trying to interrupt that cycle," VanBergen said.
"I was going through a lot of abuse and I was by myself," current Florence Crittenton resident Margot Walker said. "I was living in my car, he wasn't eating like we should have been. I was abandoned."
Walker has been in the program for about two months and wants to stop that cycle, as well.
"My son, Lacklan, is due this Sunday the 22," Walker said. She says she's prepared to handle her son thanks to Florence Crittenton. "I have grown and matured more than I ever have. I'm happier, he's healthier and I believe I can do this."
"I was a young mother and it was incredibly hard and I had a great support system," VanBergen said. "These women don't have any support and yet they're trying to be good parents."
After losing 30% of government funding, the nonprofit is now asking for the community's help.
"Every dollar you donate saves you $4 as taxpayers. We end up spending a lot more money if these women don't get the support and intervention they need now," VanBergen said.
"Without Florence Crittenton, I wouldn't have independence. I wouldn't have the independence that I have now," Walker said.
Florence Crittenton has already had to turn away 18 young women in the first three months since the funding cut.
For more information about Florence Crittenton and for ways you can help out, visit this website.