Every refugee faces unique hardships both before and after they arrive in the U.S. For 16-year-old Burmese refugee Khing Ming, it was juggling school and motherhood.

When she first joined the Refugee Youth Program. Khing Ming, in the U.S. less than one year, was already seven months pregnant. Despite her pregnancy, she was determined to finish the ninth grade, have her baby over the summer and return to Englewood High School in the fall.

LSS referred her to an after-school tutor, and she worked to improve her GPA while keeping all her pre-natal appointments. LSS also partnered Khing Ming with volunteer mentor Katie, who is  both knowledgeable about ESOL and has experience as a social worker with teen moms.

On May 28, the baby was born! LSS provided Khing Ming with formula, diapers, wipes and food from the food pantry. Katie was there for Khing Ming the day the baby came home from the hospital, and continued to visit with her every week.

In early June, LSS heard from Children’s Home Society that Khing Ming had refused services from the Early Head Start Program. Realizing it must be a misunderstanding on Khing Ming’s end due to her limited English, LSS explained to her the services that are available through Early Head Start. Once she had a better understanding of the program, Khing Ming decided that she did want to participate in the program after all.

Later in June, Khing Ming received her report card and found that she had been promoted to tenth grade and had succeeded in raising her GPA from a 2.75 to a 2.82! She is currently spending the summer at home with her baby, no less determined to finish high  school, while also being a mother to her new baby.