The Resilience and Purpose Behind Purposely Chosen

March 29, 2024

In celebration of Women's History Month, we shine a spotlight on Dr. Dretona Maddox, the visionary founder and Executive Director of Purposely Chosen, Inc., a beacon of hope within the CA Alliance network. Dretona's journey is one of profound resilience; having faced homelessness and the heart-wrenching decision to end a pregnancy in her teenage years, she was driven by a deeply personal mission to forge a different path for young mothers. She established Purposely Chosen to offer unwavering support and advocacy to pregnant and parenting teens navigating the foster care system. "Once given the opportunity to open the maternity home," Dretona said, "I was propelled by the memory of my own anguish. I vowed to ensure that no teen mom would have to choose between her child and a roof over her head. Serving these young women is not just my mission—it's a reflection of the support I once desperately needed. In Purposely Chosen, I extend the lifeline I wish had been there for me."

Purposely Chosen's mission is clear: to help displaced teen moms keep their babies through non-stigmatizing support, advocacy, and parenting education in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The organization has been a sanctuary since 2006, offering safety and stability to those in dire circumstances, including homeless youth, runaways, and abandoned pregnant or parenting adolescent girls between the ages of 13-19. As Dretona explained about the organization's ethos, "Our commitment transcends the provision of services; we are companions through every pivotal moment our young mothers face. From childbirth to the critical stages of aftercare, we are a steadfast ally. Understanding the multifaceted trauma of entering foster care and the complexities of teen motherhood, we stand firm in our pledge: We do not give up. We champion the potential of our teen moms, ensuring they are met with compassion and unwavering support through every challenge and triumph."

For nearly two decades, Purposely Chosen has been instrumental in ensuring these young women have their needs met—from education and advocacy to access to vital community resources—facilitating healthy pregnancies and deliveries. Dretona's own transformation underscores the power of education as a vehicle for change. Reflecting on her own experience, she noted that, "Access to education was the turning point in my life, unlocking opportunities I couldn't have envisioned at 15. Homeless and out of school, a counselor's belief in me and an educational plan changed everything. That journey led me to a vocational nursing program and now, fuels my dream to launch a nursing school for teen moms. My goal is to empower them to turn their adversities into stepping stones for success."

Dretona Maddox, with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Phoenix and her Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California, and a Doctorate of Social Work from California Baptist University, embodies the spirit of resilience and empowerment. Her aspiration for Purposely Chosen is not only to assist these young individuals in overcoming their obstacles but also to inspire them towards self-sufficiency and success, as she herself has achieved. Through Purposely Chosen, Dretona Maddox has transformed her personal trials into a legacy of support and empowerment for young mothers, epitomizing the transformative power of compassion and determination.

Purposely Chosen: Our Mission is to help displaced teen moms keep their babies through non-stigmatizing support, advocacy and parenting education. Our goal is to BREAK EVERY CHAIN of child abuse and neglect of children born to teen parents, an unnecessary tragedy that is often caused by stress and the lack of non-stigmatized support, education, guidance, and resources. Learn more at purposelychosen.org/

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