‘You don’t know everybody’s story’

Vanessa Garcia of Arvada

By Taylore Todd
Special for Colorado Community Media
Posted 12/18/18

Vanessa Garcia, 23, was 15 years old when she gave birth to her son. She was “scared, disappointed ... in disbelief” when she found out she was pregnant. She relied on Hope House, a nonprofit in …

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‘You don’t know everybody’s story’

Vanessa Garcia of Arvada

Posted

Vanessa Garcia, 23, was 15 years old when she gave birth to her son. She was “scared, disappointed ... in disbelief” when she found out she was pregnant. She relied on Hope House, a nonprofit in Arvada, to help her take care of her son and herself, living in its residential program for about five months. Today, she works full-time and plans to attend college in Florida to study law.

If you knew me, you would know ...

“I was a baby having a baby. I was 15 when I had my son, so I was in ninth grade … Teen moms, when they have a child, they either mature or they don’t. With my case, I come from a very dysfunctional, abusive family. So I feel like when I had my son, when I found out I was having him, it was kind of like a fight-or-flight feeling for me because I didn’t have anybody to fall back on … He shaped me into wanting to be the best mom … I wanted to give him everything that I wasn’t provided with. It’s been an awesome eight years. We’ve grown up together, after all. He’s like my best friend, but he’s my son.

“The first thing that people do is judge. They judge. I just feel like they shouldn’t be so judgmental because they don’t know exactly what is going on or what happened. They don’t know if the mom has support or family. You don’t know everybody’s story.

“I don’t think I would change anything because it’s made me who I am now ... I think the only thing I would have changed was to probably push myself more as to wanting to achieve my goals and go after my goals. Like I said, I come from a very dysfunctional family. So having that voice in your head 24/7 telling you that you’re never going to be this, you’re never going to do that, that you aren’t worth it, that stopped me from being able to do a lot of things because I never believed in myself. So now … I just go after what I want to do.”

How I want to change the world

“I definitely want to be able to help out … with teen moms because I was there at one point. I know it’s hard. It’s difficult — especially when you’re a baby having a baby. I mean, can you imagine being 15 years old? You can’t go out and have a job. There are age limits for everything … I definitely want to be able to help people the way I’ve been helped.

“I’m moving to Florida, but I do plan on going to college out there and studying law. That’s a goal of mine. Right now, I work full-time. I work for a machine company, so they make parts for different things people need. I handle all the administrative, so I handle the money, the bills, their data entry, all of that. I definitely want to move up in the world, but as of now, it’s cool.

“My real dream is to become a homicide detective, but to make it more realistic, I would work in a jail or be a probation officer ... I just want to be able to help out in some way.”

Why my voice is important

“Everyone, regardless of age, is entitled to their own opinion. Everyone has a different situation, relatable or not, but being a younger crowd, we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when needed or just be heard. I guess it just doesn’t hurt anyone to hear us out. Maybe they’ll learn a thing or two.”

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