Nearly 24 years ago I found myself in a pickle. At the young age of 16 years old, and after several months of denial, my girlfriend and I realized she was pregnant. Like most teenagers, we were scared beyond belief, but more importantly, afraid of how our parents were going to react. I was raised in what I consider a faith based home. I attended church and youth group weekly, and was raised to practice abstinence. I knew the news was going to be a shock to my family and the reaction could go bad quickly.
After talking myself up, I got the nerve to tell my mom first. She obviously was very surprised, but after several tears and when the initial shock wore off, we made a plan on how to support our unborn child. I received some tough love and a quick dose of reality, but my girlfriend and I stepped up and did what needed to be done to ready the world for our son. There were some consistent priorities we both set throughout this process. We committed to finishing school. We committed to supporting him on our own. And we committed to do this together. This meant lots of working for money and long hours of studying, but we both managed with support from our families. There was no way that we could have done this on our own. My girlfriend then is now my wife. I recognize that we beat the stereotype and that we are definitely an anomaly. Most teen parents do not stick together, let alone grow up together and have a long and healthy marriage. Almost 19 years later, believe it or not, we still very much love each other and have a relationship that is stronger today.
I share the story above because this is why Sparrow’s Nest is important to me. Not every young woman who experiences the same scenario has the support system we did. This is where the Nest comes in. They provide a safe environment for young women to raise their children. They provide a support system which allows each mother to work towards their own personal goals. They are the consistent that is needed to ensure success. As a board member, I have the ability to volunteer and serve. I can engage my own children with the mission and model the importance of service to others. I have the ability to raise funds that are needed to support these young families. Most important to me, I have the ability to give back.
I encourage others to take some time and get to know the mission of Sparrow’s Nest. It is hard not to be inspired by the difference they are making. You have the opportunity to meet these young women and invest in them individually. There are many chances to get involved, whether it is a Talk and Tour or to attend a fundraising event, I assure you that you will leave inspired and motivated to get involved. The staff is amazing!