BENNINGTON — Tiffany Gaghich ran into a baby bump as a junior in high school at 17, but now, she appreciates her support system on a day dedicated to being a mother.
Gaghich was ready to drop out of school after she couldn't keep up with grades and courses, until she transferred to the opportunity program at Sunrise Family Resource Center. There, she found other mother's going through the same issues she was experiencing.
"I think some mothers in our community don't have a strong family support system and Sunrise helped me because I met more friends who had the compassion for each other that other people may not have," she said.
Gaghich graduated from the opportunity program, and also received her high school diploma. She is now 24 and happily married with her 6-year-old son. She said having a child at a young age doesn't have to ruin one's life, as long as "you're surrounded with people who support you."
"I was close with my mom. She's always been one of my biggest supporters and supported me in the decisions I wanted to make," she said. "Even when I left [her home], I worked two jobs and she helped babysit."
This isn't Gaghich's first Mother's Day, but reflecting on the past, she recalled the day as "very weird." After already being a mother for a year, Gaghich said that she was used to being on the other side of things.
"People were celebrating that I was a mother and what that meant," she said. "It was like, 'Hmmm. I do all these things and I'm getting acknowledged for all that hard work.'"
Amelia Silver, Sunrise development director, said Gaghich does everything for everybody.
"She's one of the self starters and an essential assistant for Sunrise," she said. "She's quite extraordinary."
Gaghich found work experience through Sunrise post graduation and landed a position at Project Against Violent Encounters (PAVE), but later returned to Sunrise. In the future, she plans to have more children when she's settled and obtain a higher education. With no specific occupation in mind, Gaghich explained that she enjoys helping others.
"I am happy that I was able to come back to Sunrise and I'm able to be part of that still," she said. "I like helping people that are like in the field of social work. In my position I don't have to work with families, but I like to be interacting with people."
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.