BLOG: KNOWLEDGE SHARE
Connecting across the Continents: Teen Moms and the People Who Love Them
The minute I met Miriam I knew I had found a sister.
The Executive Director of Suubi House, a home for teen moms in Uganda, Miriam was smart, focused and future thinking. With her perfect English and a beautiful Ugandan lilt, she shared her passion for “her girls” and her commitment to giving them both a place to belong and an opportunity to become self-sustaining.
God had placed the same love and passion for teen moms in Miriam’s heart, half a world away, that He had placed in mine. I could see how high and wide and deep is God’s love for these young, vulnerable mothers. I could see He was working all over the world on their behalf. This brief glimpse of God’s plan was both humbling and enormously exciting.
That first meeting with Miriam in 2007 led to a decision between our two organizations to become sister homes. Our teen moms became pen pals, and every year the Hope House teen moms collect blankets and baby clothes to send to their “sisters.”
Miriam travels to Denver annually for training and fund raising, and each year she visits with our girls, sharing stories, and sparking a love of Africa in more than one young heart (several graduates of Hope House are planning future mission trips to Uganda). In 2009, three of our staff members had the opportunity to travel to Uganda for cross training with Suubi House staff.
As Hope House continued to grow and to serve more teen moms through new community programs, God brought people from all over the world who
love teen moms to Hope House. First I began to receive calls for advice from people across the U.S. hoping to start homes or programs of their own. A foundation in Holyoke, Mass., invited us to visit The Care Center, a GED Program and resource center for teen moms.
At The Care Center, I again felt a deep connection with an organization that was just like us, a place for teen moms to belong. The Care Center would become the model for our own Resource Center in Arvada, to be built on land next door to our Residential Program.
There have been other humbling opportunities – an invitation from Children’s Hope Chest to travel to Russia, at their expense, to train the staff of their new Resource Center for teen moms. A chance to share curriculum with a teen mom mentoring program in Seattle, Wash., a random call out of the blue from a production company in France asking if they could highlight Hope House in an international documentary comparing best practices for those working with teen moms. God even gave me a chance to meet a third “sister” in Diane Ooi, who traveled from Singapore to share her progress in opening a home and resource center for teen moms. Our network of global connections is expanding, paving the way for our proposed international network.
Until then, Miriam, Diane and I connect through email from our separate continents, offering prayer and encouragement to one another, waiting to meet more sisters, convinced that the verse we know is true for our girls applies to teen moms all across the world…
He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion, until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6.
By Lisa Steven, Executive Director, Hope House of Colorado
Knowledge Share #8: Breaking Out of Poverty - 08/18/2016
Knowledge Share #7: Creating a Home - 07/11/2016
Knowledge Share #6: The Power of Mindset - 06/14/2016
Knowledge Share #5: College or Bust! - 05/17/2016
Knowledge Share #4:Understanding Addiction - 04/07/2016
Knowledge Share #3:Mentoring Empowers Teen Moms - 03/21/2016
Knowledge Share #2: Healthy Relationships - 02/11/2016
Knowledge Share #1: Brain Development - 01/12/2016
Teen Mom Barrier #8: Communicating the Barriers - 12/16/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #7: Homelessness - 10/09/2015
TEEN MOM BARRIER #6: GENERATIONAL POVERTY - 07/16/2015
Teen Mom Barrier Number #5: Domestic Violence - 06/03/2015
Teen Mom Barrier # 4 The Challenges of College - 05/12/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #2: Childcare - 02/18/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #1: Society's Negative Expectations - 01/26/2015
Teen Mom Misconceptions #5: Success is Impossible - 09/22/2014
Misconception #3: Mentoring Teen Moms is Complicated - 06/05/2014
Because they want someone to love them? - 05/21/2014
Teen Moms - A Persecuted Population? - 04/22/2014
Community - 01/20/2014
8 Pennies - 12/18/2013
"The most courageous young women I know." - 11/14/2013
Our Graduates: In their hands, they hold the future! - 09/30/2013
Measuring the Intangible - 06/15/2013
Grown-Up Mom - 05/01/2013
Misconception #4: Shaming Teen Moms is an Effective Approach
Eva said: I am so proud of Vanessa good friend of mine and mother. [more]