Let’s take a little trip to a time when you found out you were pregnant. How did that look? What did you feel? For me, I felt irrational fear, both surprised by my pregnancy and a doubtful voice in my head whispering “I’m not ready for this.” From a logistical standpoint though, I had everything I could possibly need/want: a caring partner, supportive family, a roof over my head, health insurance, and a list that could go on and on. I had the privilege of having everything I needed to become a mother, even if I didn’t feel emotionally ready for it.
Now imagine being a teenager and finding out you’re pregnant without any support. Where would you turn for help? What would you do if you knew you wanted to have your baby, but needed teen pregnancy resources to help you be successful? Enter the YWCA Duluth’s Young Mothers Transitional Housing Program, typically referred to as the Young Mothers Program.
This program that was established in October 2003, serves 16-21 year olds who are expecting or have a child, are coming from a place of homelessness, or expect to be homeless and often have experienced trauma.
The Young Mothers Program isn’t a shelter, although housing is provided; it’s a program where participants must commit to their individualized living skill plan to keep their residency active. The first requirement of their plan is education and all participants must be enrolled in a high school, GED program, trade/vocational school, or college.
During the program’s weekly group meetings, they discuss topics like budgeting/financial literacy, self-advocacy, meal planning, cleaning, and so many other basic life skills. Parenting classes like the Circle of Security and employment assistance through SOAR are also among the other additional services the program helps to provide.
It’s evident that the success of a young mother is the absolute core of what this program is about and mothers are given the time to succeed, with the average time of stay around 12 – 16 months. No one ever wants to see someone in the position to require this kind of help and yet, we should be grateful this kind of program exists in our community.
This program also relies on the community to help with its success and both monetary and product donations are accepted. A small list of items can be found below and before donating, reach out to the shelter staff by calling 218-600-6748 or email Rhonda at the YWCA.
Acceptable donations include:
- Gift cards to Super One, Walmart, Target, Cub, etc
- New or gently used play seats or car seats
- New or gently used pots and pans
- Crib sheets
- Diapers, wipes, baby wash/lotion
- Personal hygiene products, including products for textured hair
- New pillows and blankets
Unacceptable donations include:
- Cribs that have been recalled or in poor condition
- Expired car seats
- Used appliances
- Used computers
- Opened hair or personal hygiene products
If you would like to learn more about how the YWCA Duluth is working to eliminate racism and empower women in our community, you are invited to attend their annual fundraiser on October 28th in person, or virtually.