St. Anne’s Family Services in the Rampart district offers support programs to struggling expectant mothers and young families so they can get the help they need to live their best lives.
When Lorna Little moved to Los Angeles to serve as the nonprofit’s president and CEO, she brought more than just her work experience to the role.
Little herself has faced many of the same challenges as the women she serves. She became pregnant in high school and felt the fear and shame associated with becoming a teenage mother. Making it through the difficult time and coming out on top, she now wants to show the young girls at St. Anne’s that they can do the same.
“I want to have that opportunity on a systems level for these young people so that they can see: Yes, these challenges we face are real, but we can make it through,” Little said.
In this episode of “LA Stories,” Little describes to host Giselle Fernandez another challenge she overcame. In her 30s, she discovered she was adopted. She was the result of her biological father’s affair. His wife, who could not have children, adopted Little and accepted her as her own.
Little shares her shocking adoption story in her book “Mum’s the Word!” where she describes the emotional roller coaster the discovery sent her on. Once again, Little turned her experience around to help others.
“I wanted to use my pain in that journey and turn it into a purpose to help other people free themselves,” she said.
Today at St. Anne’s, Little is hard at work, developing and improving the programs they offer, such as transitional housing, therapy, early learning centers and parenting classes.
For Little, it’s all about removing the shame associated with early pregnancy and instead focusing on creating a clear path to success, whatever that may look like.
“I am supposed to let my light shine because there are those who are trying to find their way,” she said. “And if I dim my light, I might be causing someone to not have a support system. We all have the capacity to help, and we need to shine our light for those who are trying to find their way.”
Watch "LA Stories with Giselle Fernandez" at 9 p.m. every Monday on Spectrum News 1.