2012 Imagine Award Honoree Wendy Miranda

At age 16, Wendy was pregnant and a runaway. She had dropped out of high school, found herself in an abusive relationship, and ended up alone and frightened 3000 miles from home. She needed help. Her parents welcomed her back, granting her a place to raise her child and start her life anew. Today at 22, Wendy is the mother of two, ages 7 and 4, and is working towards building a better life for them all.

Ask Wendy about these difficult years, and she will quickly share, “If I could only change some of the decisions I made back then….”

Since returning to Charlottesville and connecting with CHiP in 2005, Wendy has shown that she has learned to make better decisions for herself and for her children.  She has mended her relationship with her parents, left an abusive partner, attained her citizenship, and created a stable, supportive home for her two children. Most recently, Wendy learned that her family has been approved to have their very own home through Habitat for Humanity. Wendy says with excitement, “This is truly a dream!”

When reflecting on the past seven years, Wendy notes, “I have definitely grown. I’m no longer the lost girl I once was. … I’m proud of myself for the changes I’ve made, and I’m so thankful for my parents’ support.”

Her success and growth are very much a reflection of her determination to move life in a positive direction. According to her CHiP family support worker, “Wendy would always do what was asked by CHiP.  She attended events, Mom’s Groups, wrote letters of support to various people, attended the General Assembly, and more. Wendy is a great example of what can be accomplished if you have support and are self-motivated.” Wendy’s next goal is to return to school and get her college degree.

When asked if she has any words of wisdom for others who might be struggling, Wendy calmly advises, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Follow your heart, and when you make a decision … think about your future and how your decision will affect you and those you love.”

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