Amanda Smith of York City YoungLives was used to gathering the teen moms she serves in large groups for weekly gatherings and parties. Then, in March 2020, COVID changed much of what she does. “Ministry is still going strong,” Amanda says, “of course it looks a lot different than it used to.” Since they can no longer meet in large groups, they gather in smaller numbers which gives, “an opportunity to get to know the girls more intimately,” Amanda adds.
YoungLives provides teen moms with support, encouragement and resources as they parent. COVID nearly doubled the number of moms that Amanda serves. “Because of the pandemic, they had nowhere else to go, so they showed up for things. It gave leaders a chance to connect outside of school.” Smith has been providing tangible items for the girls and transportation as well. During quarantine, Uber and buses were closed, so YoungLives staff and volunteers have been driving the girls and getting to know them better in the process.
Listen to Nadia, one of Amanda’s YoungLives attendees, talk about how her life changed after getting involved with YoungLives.
YoungLives received $10,000 from the Christmas Eve offering fund. In past years, funds were used to send teen moms to camp, but that is out of the picture for 2021. (Smith hopes to be able to take a small group of girls to discipleship camp at the beach this summer.) Instead, YoungLives is using Christmas Eve offering funds for diapers, wipes, feminine hygiene products, and basics like car seats and strollers.
One bright spot in 2020 was the YoungLives Christmas Party. Living Word helped to provide gifts for both moms and babies. Smith arranged an all-day party where girls showed up in 20-minute intervals. They received gifts, made cookies, did a mommy and me craft, and heard a Bible message. “They had so much fun,” Amanda says with a laugh, “and they are begging me to do another one!”
One thing Amanda really needs is mentors for both teen moms and dads. YoungLives provides a few months of training and walks potential mentors through a discernment process to determine if mentoring is a good fit. A mentor pairs up with 1 or 2 teens moms, meets with them weekly or bi-weekly, and walks through life with them. “Through the relationship,” Amanda says, “we earn the right to step in and talk about Jesus.” Mentoring is a 1-2 year commitment. If you are interested in mentoring, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see a full list of the local organizations we supported with the Christmas Eve Offering, click here.