Most of the women who pass through Caroline Center share commonalities of experience: a legacy of poverty, indifferent or absent parents, stolen childhoods, teen pregnancy, single motherhood, paltry or aborted educations, limited options. This pile up of delinquencies litters their personal landscape, all but obliterating their view of a bright and promising future. It’s out there, just over the horizon, but to reach it, they first have to navigate a rocky and rutty road, pockmarked by unforeseen consequences and foregone conclusions. Bystanders (like you and me) look at the road ahead of these women and grow weary at the very thought. For those women who undertake it, the journey will give pause to even the most iron-willed among them. Many will falter. All will need encouragement. And more. Because despite what some people think, will power alone will not get these women where they want to go. They need wisdom tour guides and spiritual traveller’s aid. And they need supportive cheerleaders all along the way. That’s where you come in.
Why read these stories? Because, for both the women and the reader, the journey is a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage is taken in the light of a story already told. And the pilgrim goes in order to be changed by the experience of the pilgrimage. You’ve heard the stories of urban poverty. And because you know so much of the circumstances of these women’s lives, it is easy to believe you know the women. But you don’t. Not really. Each one is different. Blessed with unique gifts just waiting to be unwrapped. Journeying with the women via these posts will take you deeper into their story. As for the women, well, no two women will choose the same route. But those who take the road that leads through the Caroline Center always end up on the other side of hopelessness. So, take the pilgrimage with the women. Because while their shared experiences may confound you, their individual stories will inspire you. And you will be forever changed by the journey.
If you are inspired by the women of Caroline Center, please pass their stories along to others. Tell them about the Caroline Center blog and website. Tell them about the Caroline Center mission to transform the lives of poor women in Baltimore through education and job training with opportunity for advancement. Caroline Center. Committed to women. Committed to work.