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Denver woman gets life-changing "call" from NFL legend

Posted at 3:39 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-24 15:09:49-05

ARVADA, Colo. — Life came at Jamie Reilly fast. At just 16 years old, she had her son, Darian.

"It was so scary, I had no idea what I was doing," she says of being a first-time mom.

Her home life made things worse.

"My mom had done drugs my whole life. My dad was mentally ill, abusive and I couldn’t get help," O'Reilly said.

The single mother dropped out of three high schools. At 18, she found Hope House, a non-profit helping teen moms get their education and prepare for the real world.

"I remember sitting there and they ordered pizza, because that’s what they did for every girl's first day at GED, and I remember just eating hot pizza was so significant and leaving there just thinking, I wish that would happen again," O'Reilly recalled her first day at Hope House.

Thanks to Hope House, O'Reilly got her GED. Since then, she's given back to the same group that gave so much to her.

"One of the things I believe to be true is that if I can do anything in my life to help somebody else that was feeling the way the way I felt and help them change their lives, then why wouldn’t I do that," O'Reilly said.

"She [O'Reilly] has overcome all of the barriers and struggles," said Lisa Steven, co-founder of Hope House. "She can say if I can do it, you can do it."

More recently, O'Reilly found herself in debt and Steven helped out in a different way by nominating her to be a recipient of Deion Sanders' "ballers" initiative. Sanders, along with the non-profit Stand Together, give donations to people "dedicated to helping others overcome difficult challenges".

O'Reilly received nearly $4,000 from the "ballers" initiative, allowing her to pay off her student debt. Now, she's able to go back to college so she can start a career working for charities.