Mother's Day is fast approaching. You can tell by the ads for flowers, clothes, cards, and candy, and how difficult it is to get reservations for brunch in downtown Charleston on May 11.

But not all mothers feel valued on Mother's Day.

Many young mothers face obstacles stemming from abuse, neglect, and other childhood trauma. They need services and support to become healthy, self-sufficient and stable.

This is where Florence Crittenton Programs of S.C. steps in, providing housing, education, counseling, medical care, and life skills training to pregnant youth ages 10-21.

For these young women and their children, all of this adds up to breaking the destructive cycles into which they were born.

Florence Crittenton Programs of S.C. (FCP) has been located at 19 St. Margaret Street in downtown Charleston since 1932, and serving young mothers in need since 1897. FCP is the only program of its kind in the state.

Follow-up data demonstrate that teen moms served here stay in school, learn good parenting skills and embark on self-sufficient lives.

One mother who sent her pregnant teenage daughter to the Residential Program shared the following:

"... We all know life will be no bed of roses for any of us, but I think FCP has helped save her life and that of her son's. They have been incredibly compassionate and understanding during a time of crisis at home." "... Bringing her to the Florence Crittenton Programs was a life-saving event and the best decision I ever made."

Our generous community has helped support these young families in need for many years. The recently published history, "Miracles on St. Margaret Street," by Ruth Cupp and edited by Barbara Williams, denotes the involvement of prominent Charlestonians in this mission over the years.

We have been able to remain in and renovate our historic building due to an outpouring of support. And being in the same location for 82 years means something very special.

Frequently we receive knocks on our door from individuals who either stayed here during their pregnancy, or were born here. And we are often able to be a part of the healing process that comes when families are reunited.

On this coming Mother's Day, consider honoring a special woman in your life by making a donation to Florence Crittenton Programs. You will be supporting a young vulnerable mother and her children.

Donations made on Tuesday, May 6, the Lowcountry Giving Day, will be matched by our generous community.

Every $1 donated to Florence Crittenton saves the South Carolina Taxpayers $4 in public assistance.

Philippa Ward is president of the Board of Directors, Florence Crittenton Programs of S.C. Contact info@florencecrittentonsc.org, 843-722-7526, and the website at: www.florencecrittentonsc.org.