Domanik Thompson, 20, is spending her first Christmas as a mother at Borromeo Housing's Elizabeth House in Arlington.
Many fond memories are created at home during the holidays, but for those without stable families or stable homes, the holidays can be particular challenging.
Twenty-year-old Domanik Thompson spent most of her teen years in group homes, foster homes and juvenile detention facilities. She says what she remembers most about Christmas time are family members who didn't follow through with promises to visit her.
"I always had people saying they would do stuff for me and they never did it," she says, "so I've had a lot of heartbreaks."
Two months ago, Thompson gave birth to a daughter, Armarni Thompson. Borromeo Housing, a nonprofit that helps young, homeless mothers took her in.
The stability has allowed her to resume efforts to get her high school diploma.
Jennifer Gajdosik, with Borromeo Housing, says Christmas can be a lot to handle for the mothers who come here.
"The moms are trying to create all their own new traditions here," Gajdosik says. "So they're starting out from scratch."
Domanik isn't sure which family members will be visiting this Christmas, but she says she just wants to make Domanik's first Christmas something special.
"Something that I can remember for myself, and say, '...Domanik, you did this for your baby!'" she says. "I wanna feel happy that I've done this for my baby and for the best."
She says it starts by being the kind of mother she never had.