For the last five years, I’ve been leading Growing Pains, a resource group for pregnant and teen parents. We come alongside young families to offer emotional and spiritual support, to teach parenting skills and to provide for basic family needs like diapers and cribs.
I want to tell you a story about Maria. Maria and her baby, Faye, joined Growing Pains after we met her at a continuation high school. One day she chose to hang out with some girls who were trying to steal a phone. Maria was charged and sent to jail for 3 months.
She could have fallen into shame and guilt. She could have returned to that group of “friends.” But she didn’t. Instead, she decided to live for God. She set goals and made a plan to work hard toward a better life. Then she broke up with her boyfriend who was taking drugs. And she came back to Growing Pains for our support in helping her meet her goals.
Not only did she make up the classes that she missed while in jail, but also she was able to graduate ON TIME this past June with her original high school class! During the summer we helped her earn her drivers license, and this fall she began studies at a local college. We were able to equip her for this new collegiate challenge (and adventure) with a laptop, printer and gift cards for food and gasoline.
Maria is living a very different life today than two years ago. Are there still difficulties? Yes! But our commitment is to walk beside her to encourage her that she can overcome the obstacles and build a beautiful life for herself and her daughter. Maria’s future is bright indeed, and what a privilege and joy to be on the journey with her!
By Susan Fudge