Creating a Home

Renee Post, Residential Program Manager

 

What is home to you?

Home is where I can be 100% me.

Home is where I have a warm bed to crawl into each night.

Home is where I feel safe and deserving, even on my worse days.

As the Residential Program Manager at Hope House of Colorado, I often receive crisis calls from teen moms needing a place to live. Usually the young woman sounds nervous as she begins to ask about our program. As I answer her questions and describe Hope House, you can hear her voice begin to relax as she becomes more curious about what we offer.

These girls are often making this “cold call” when they are in one of the most difficult points of their life. The worst often runs through their mind: is this a place with numerous teen moms and kids, all sleeping in bunk beds? Is it chaotic with kids running around everywhere?  Are there cement walls?

I am often struck by the fact that even though they believe Hope House may be a crowded, unfriendly institutional facility, they are still making that phone call because they so desperately need a safe place to live.

Our teen moms and their kids come from a variety of living situations, none of them safe or stable.  Some are couch surfing — or sharing a bed with several other family members. Some are completely homeless.

Take Janeth, one of our residents, who was sharing a bed with two of her sisters as well as her baby Hermione before she moved into Hope House.  Now Janeth and Hermione each have their own bedroom at Hope House – their own homey bedroom, decorated just for them.

It all starts with that phone call. At Hope House we strive to making teen moms feel comfortable – starting right when we answer the phone. We let them know that Hope House is a place where they are made to feel at home.  A place where they are welcome – and so is their child.

After explaining Hope House, we invite her to visit Hope House for a tour – and we also let her know she can see the house in a video on our website.

Once a teen mom comes for a tour, she often says something like, “Wow, this feels like a home.”

After she and her child move in, we begin to work with her on economic self-sufficiency – and how to build a home for herself and her child or children.

We help her take the chaotic aspects of her life and build stability.

We help her look at her relationships and support her in establishing boundaries where needed.

We help her learn how to create a nurturing parenting environment.

There are so many things we do at Hope House to help our teen moms move forward, but one of the biggest is giving these girls a home they probably have never had before.

When Janeth moved into our program, she was coming from an environment that completely lacked structure. After living at Hope House for a few weeks, she said, “Growing up I never had to do chores, but I have realized chores are good. I am going to have Hermione do them as she is growing up.”

Janeth is beginning to understand what it means to create a healthy, nurturing environment for her own child. Her future is bright – and so is that of Hermione.

That is what Hope House is all about.