The Value: Finding the Meaning of Home in an Unlikely Place

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

In our regular series The Value, Takeaway correspondent Farai Chideya brings us the story of a woman in Miami who found the value of home in an unlikely place.

22-year-old Ciara Jones was eight months pregnant and homeless when she found help at the Lotus House homeless shelter. When she got there, she said she realized it was a better environment than her parent's house. Now she lives in an apartment and runs a a store.


Farai Chideya

Comments [8]

Robert from Detroit

Thank you Missy! Farai almost seems to have an agenda she is pushing with this story and then subsequently with her response to her mis-statement. At some point, if this republic is to survive and compete in a world economy, we cannot continue to pretend that choosing to bring children into the world under the worst imaginable circumstances is "strength". It is our responsibility as adults to do what is in children's long-term best interest and being single and financially dependant certainly doesn't qualify. As parents we need to teach our children through example and she has fboth ailed miserably with her life and as a mother to this point. Most likely, her children will repeat her errors. There are many examples of those who have overcome adversity to excel, but I would characterize this woman as part of the problem, not the part of any solution.

Feb. 10 2010 09:48 AM
Kimberly from Brooklyn

I can't believe the negative comments. I was inspired by Clara's story. To hear what she had done with what life gave her, and yes, with the choices she made - it made me realize that I've been whining in therapy about my own hardships when I could be out there giving something positive back - turning my own personal crises into positive energy. Thank you for sharing her story with us.

Feb. 10 2010 09:32 AM
Pamela from Miami

This is bright women who made some mistakes with little or no support from family. Who among us has not been there on some level.
I commend this women for empowering herself by taking advantage of the services and gifts that life has to offer. Not everyone sees the opportunity to pull themselves out of a bad situation and become a true role model, mentor and success.
Don't you dare judge her unless you've spent one minute in her shoes or anyone's for that matter, who has stumbled in this life. The point is that we learn and grow into powerful examples for those women that will come after us seeking inspiration, hope and help.

Feb. 09 2010 10:48 PM

I could not agree more with the two comments above. I expected, after the gushing introduction, to hear a story of a young woman who "made it" out of poverty. Instead I heard a story of a promising student who wasted her scholarship and fell into the same trap everybody else seems to who does not qualify for a scholarship. Talk about waste. Then she ends up in a homeless shelter and gets pregnant again! I feel sorry for her, and I do hope she will pull out of her precarious situation and go back to college to get a foundation for a good life (and yes, a college education still signifies higher earnings, especially once we are out of this recession), but I must admit, the first question that popped into my head is - what ever happened to birth control? It's not brain surgery how not to get pregnant.
And, sorry, Farai, but a "committed relationship" doesn't quite cut it. She IS a single mother, and this guy could disappear at the drop of a hat.
Most of all, I wonder about the reporter's judgment. Was there no other story out there that deserved to be told that did not need such an obvious slant in order to sound optimistic?

Feb. 09 2010 12:33 PM
Farai Chideya from New York

Hi folks:

I apologize for misstating Overtown as Overland.

Ciara is in a committed relationship with the father of her second child, a man who has been a father-figure for years to her first child. These segments are short so we did not have time to give that context. She is an admirable mother and woman, and I expect she'll continue to do great things.

Feb. 09 2010 11:14 AM

The Miami neighborhood is mistakenly called "Overland". In fact, it is Overtown.

Feb. 09 2010 10:19 AM

I have worked at Lotus House and it is a real gem. However, I can't emphasize more what a wrongly slanted story this was. Where is any mention of a father in this? Any responsibility there? Why a second child without a father, no learning curve on that aspect of life? This woman seems smart and strong, but this choice may keep all of them in a cycle of poverty that is so very difficult to break. The reporter has faith that she will "make it?" What kind of editorial comment is that?

Feb. 09 2010 10:06 AM
Robert from Detroit

This story was awful and advances the erroneous concept that stories like this should be about the woman and her "choices". Yet another single mother, yet another child brought into the world under the worst possible circumstances. No mention of the child's father, no mention about the child. The subject of this story is not a hero, she is yet another woman who has advanced the decline of the American family in general and the black family in specific and she should be repremanded not held up as some psuedo symbol of strength.

Feb. 09 2010 09:39 AM

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