Darshell's story

November 10 2022

StandUp for Kids - Orange County 

I was 15 when I got pregnant with twins. Their father, 21, was very abusive to me and he was cheating. When I was 8 months pregnant he pushed me out of the bed and I lost one of the twins and I had to have the other early. She was 4 pounds. My mom and I took care of her. For a year everything was great. Her dad was never in her life, and I never expected him to be after what happened. When I turned 17 Mom started dating Mike. He was talking about having sex with me and I didn’t want any part of that. I told my mom about it, but she was naive because she was in love. I found out about Job Corps and two weeks later I left. I got my GED and my certified nursing assistant degree. My mom left Mike and we stayed in a hotel for seven or eight months, then an apartment.

Then I was robbed. I lost all my money and my clothes, so I went to a battered women’s shelter. I didn’t have any choices. I had my daughter with me. If it was just me, I probably would have committed suicide. That was my mindset. I had never seen homeless people, people in so much need of hygiene, or watch someone beg for food. I used to talk about these people, but then I had to do it to feed my daughter. Begging for food, losing weight, shedding my hair. I was literally losing my mind slowly. Every chance I got to get away from there I did.

Now I’m in the healing process, trying to repair everything. I am working and I am staying with my mom until February when I have to find my own place. I have applied to college, and I am aiming to be an RN to work in the neonatal unit. I want a career where my daughter never has to wonder why she doesn’t have anything or wonder why her mommy has to carry pots of water to take a bath. I’ve been through a lot and it’s hard. But I have no choice and I can’t give up. If I give up, she gives up. StandUp For kids has allowed me to get my self-esteem back. It takes my mind off everything else. It allows me to enjoy life again. It shows me that some that people actually want to help. I love StandUp For Kids. When I am out of this program for six months, maybe I can volunteer.

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