A new ministry aimed at teenage mothers called YoungLives officially launched in Carroll County on Jan. 1. Through the new ministry, pregnant teens or teenage mothers in Carroll County will receive emotional, spiritual and practical support while learning parenting skills.
Kristy Streett , of Westminster, was recently hired to be the Carroll County YoungLivesCoordinator. “I am so honored to be part of this local community of young moms, their babies, and the volunteers who love on them,” Streett said.
According to Streett, the ministry is part of the international organization Young Life. The group believes in the power of presence, and that kids’ lives are dramatically impacted when caring adults come alongside them, sharing God’s love with them. Young Life’s multicultural ministry, which already includes a ministry in Carroll County focused on reaching teenagers with special needs called Capernaum, is arguably the largest of its kind in the United States. Young Life has been in existence for more than 70 years, attempting to meet youth right where they are in an effort to develop deep and growing relationships through an investment of time and resources.
The Times recently caught up with Streett to learn more about YoungLives.
Q: Can you tell me a little about what the new YoungLives ministry does?
A: YoungLives is a ministry of Young Life that reaches out to teen moms, ministering to them (and their babies) during an incredibly challenging and vulnerable time in their lives. Through the YoungLivesministry, pregnant or teenage mothers in Carroll County will receive emotional, spiritual and practical support while learning parenting skills from those who have walked the road already. YoungLives offers a one-on-one mentorship and provides a way to help teenage mothers meet others in their situation so that they no longer feel isolated.
Q: How did the ministry come to be?
A: Young Life answered God’s call to run headfirst into the chaos of teenage motherhood with the hope of Jesus … and YoungLives was born. YoungLiveshas never wavered from the original vision to reach teen moms by entering their world, modeling the unconditional love of Christ, and encouraging them to become the women and mothers God created them to be. Carroll County Young Life is excited to launch YoungLivesin our community. A product of several years of planning and prayer, this local ministry will serve a population of teenagers that is so often written off, neglected and overlooked.
Q: How many people can the ministry serve at a time?
A: YoungLives looks forward to meeting the needs of any and all teenage mothers in need of encouragement. We already have a group of six trained mentors and are now excited to get the word out about the ministry as we raise additional support for the program and begin to connect these mentors with teen moms. For teens not interested in being part of a one-on-one mentorship, we will also offer "Mommy & Me" outings/activities, as well as club ("A Party with a Purpose"), Campaigners ("A Time to Learn & Grow"), and a weeklong summer camp ("The Best Week of Their Lives").
A: YoungLives aims to meet the many and varied needs of the teen mothers on all levels. From Child Development and Newborn Care, to Safety and Healthy Eating for Children, we will provide lessons that help each mom in whatever stage she may be along her parenting journey. In addition, we plan to supply the young mothers with much needed supplies (i.e., diapers, formula, baby clothes, etc.) and hope to solicit such donations from the local community. Most importantly, by developing relationships with YoungLivesMentors and with each other, the moms will learn of God’s unconditional love and the sacrifice He has made for them.
Q: What is the benefit to the community of having a program like this here in Carroll County?
A: Nearly one-third of young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20. Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school and more likely to end up on welfare. The children of teenage mothers have lower birth weights, are more likely to perform poorly in school and are at greater risk of abuse and neglect. By providing a place where they are supported and cared for while developing authentic relationships with loving adults and with each other, YoungLivesprovides these young mothers with hope; hope for a different future than the one they may see ahead of them, for both themselves and their little one.