We were made for adventure. In June of 2010, my adventure began. My friend, Mindee Callahan, invited me to join her as a nursery leader at YoungLives camp for pregnant and parenting teen moms. After spending a week with these moms and their babies, Mindee and I saw an opportunity to bring YoungLives, a ministry and mentoring program for teen moms, back home with us to Hamilton by starting our own group. Fast forward twelve months, our Hamilton YoungLives group of teen moms, their babies, and mentors were headed off to our first YoungLives camp in Michigan.
We were made to step out of our comfort zones. As a mentor with YoungLives and walking alongside young moms, I entered a whole new world. Although I was raised by an amazing, strong single mom, I have not experienced motherhood myself. However, the best adventures are when we are stretched beyond what is familiar. These beautiful moms welcomed me into their lives and taught me some of the most valuable, humbling lessons for which I will forever be grateful.
We were made to experience life with others. To challenge and empower teen moms I was mentoring, we spent time together training for the Flying Pig relay. Several friends, including Katie Powers, and my brother, Sean, joined our relay for this Cincinnati race. Then, in 2015, Katie invited me on another adventure, creating our own Hamilton race to raise funds for our YoungLives group to experience summer camp with their babies.
To train for the Hamilton Thanksgiving 5k, our YoungLives group began a stroller club, where babies are all fastened into strollers while moms and mentors are able to have a bible study while walking along the Great Miami River. This year our Hamilton Thanksgiving 5k will finish its course along the same path where Hamilton YoungLives’ first started its stroller club. Our 5k runners will get to walk in the footsteps of these young ladies as they support our Hamilton YoungLives group.
We were made to be a part of things bigger than ourselves. Our first race has quickly grown from 30 runners with a starting line from a driveway to over 1,100 people crossing the finish line at Wilson Middle School last year. It amazes me that the trajectory of our growing race participation over these past five years mirrors the increasing number of teen moms Hamilton YoungLives has been able to meet and invest in. Over the past 9 years, Hamilton YoungLives has been able to reach over 150 teen moms and their children encouraging them as they earned their high school diplomas or GEDs, started their first jobs, moved to their own apartments, began college careers, and celebrated marriage. Thank you to those of you who have participated or sponsored our race over the years, as you have played a pivotal role impacting Hamilton YoungLives in our community.
As I think about our Thanksgiving 5k this November, I want to invite you on an adventure to be a part of this Hamilton tradition that has a purpose and impact beyond the holiday by supporting our Hamilton YoungLives moms, babies, and mentors year round. Who wouldn’t say waking up at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving to race isn’t an adventure? I look forward to seeing you at the starting line.
You were made for this.