It all started…
YoungLives is a non-denominational ministry for teen moms or pregnant teens up to the age of 19 in the city. It is part of the greater organization, Young Life. In this ministry, there are adult women who serve as mentors for pregnant or parenting teens in the community. Being part of the YoungLives organization allows for the young women to build positive peer relationships and have ongoing, reliable support from their mentors. The mentors meet these girls where they are in life and walk beside them. Once a month, the girls and their babies are provided with a dinner. After dinner, childcare is provided to allow the moms to have a break from parenting and be able to interact with one another. Girls participate in games or make crafts and often guest speakers are brought in on various topics. One of the mentors also shares a message with the girls about God, His love for them and how he can be part of their daily life. Outside of these monthly gatherings, the mentors spend time with the girls one on one or in group settings. This ministry impacts a very vulnerable and valuable population. It is a joy for mentors to enter the lives of these young ladies and serve as a source of support and hope.
YoungLives started its Hamilton chapter in 2011. For five years, Mindee Callahan had been praying for the ministry to start to service many of the clients she interacted with in her job. In addition to being faithful in praying, Mindee had also served at YoungLives camps for several years. In the summer of 2010, Mindee invited one of her friends, Kristin Kwiat (K.K.), to join her on the childcare team at YoungLives camp. While at camp, Mindee wrote K.K. a note saying, “Maybe next year we will bring girls to camp from Hamilton.” When serving at camp, K.K. was reminded of an 8th grade student at the middle school she taught at and girls she had coached that had recently gotten pregnant. Both Mindee and K.K. felt God was calling to start YoungLives when they returned to Hamilton. For the next seven months, Mindee and K.K. trained mentors and childcare workers, made connections in the community, and built support. In March of 2011, Hamilton YoungLives started with their first club and has been growing since reaching more and more teen moms encouraging them to become the women and mothers God created them to be. The need for YoungLives is great, and the potential is even greater! Together we can transform generations.
Hamilton YoungLives has expanded to many surrounding communities in the Butler County area, such as Oxford, Ross, Lakota, Fairfield, and New Miami. The YoungLives team currently consists of childcare coordinator (Mindee), mentors (Ashley Bolser, Kelly Lynch, K.K., Ruthie Wallace, and Shiloh Eklund), and committee/meals coordinator (Katie Powers) serving approximately 30 teen moms and their children from each year.