Lori Pope is a participant in the Azalea Project, a special initiative that works to reduce risk-taking behavior in substance abusing pregnant and parenting women. The project works to break the cycle of substance use and other at-risk behaviors. She shares her experience with the program.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was referred to the Azalea Project, and I’ve been here ever since. Azalea has and still helps me whenever I’m in need, without casting any judgment. I had a place to stay that was deemed unsuitable for my children and myself. I came to the Azalea Project and they offered to help. They gave us food and clothing. They gave me HIV testing, pregnancy testing and ultimately helped me find a new place to stay.
They helped me mature a lot and overcome a lot of fears. It doesn’t matter if you have any kind of disease, addiction or anything. They are willing to help you and support you. They won’t look at you like your infested or less than. They treat you like a human being and that is what keeps me coming back to the Azalea Project.
They keep track of your pregnancy and make sure that you go to your appointments and take your medication. And if they can’t help you in-house, they can refer you to one of their many resources. For example, I’m currently working on obtaining my GED thanks to the Azalea Project, and I’ll be 41 soon. It’s the encouragement that the case managers give me that keeps me going.