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Mother and daughter give back to center that helped them

Posted at 10:48 AM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 13:48:02-04

PHOENIX — Heading into Mother’s Day weekend, ABC15 spoke with a mother-daughter duo about their story of resilience and how they are now giving back to those who helped them.

Cierra Pena says she struggled with addiction for many years and that addiction led her to a jail cell, away from her four kids and toward a wake-up call to change her life.

“I knew then when I was in jail like, 'Cierra you just got your kids back, what are you doing?'...That really made me hit my rock bottom that 'you need to be a better mom for these children.'”

So in 2012, she and her children checked into the Changing Lives Center for Women and Children at the Phoenix Rescue Mission. Her daughter, Yazmyne was in the fifth grade and the relationship between this mom and daughter was challenged.

“I didn’t understand why I had to go through this with her. I had a lot of anger towards her,” Yazmyne said.

While Cierra got sober, Yazmyne attended school on campus. She says it was a difficult transition.

“I would throw chairs, I would throw water at people. I was just not a nice person,” she said.

But through counseling, they pulled through.

Ten years later, Yazmyne is back in the same classroom teaching kids who are in the same situation she once was. Her mom is also right next door, working in client support and helping other women like herself.

They call it a full-circle moment.

“I’m so grateful she has grown to be the woman and mother she is today,” Yazmyne said.

“Your mom is there for you through everything,” Cierra said. “I have always had a really great relationship with my mom and so I want to make sure that my kids have a really great relationship with me.”