Teen pregnancies have been on the decline since 1991. However, thousands of teenagers across America find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy. Support from parents and other trusted adults can make a huge impact on the lives of teens during pivotal moments. Often teen parents find themselves ostracized from their loved ones and searching for meaningful relationships.
Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net), a leader in missional youth outreach for more than seven decades, is ready and willing to come alongside teen parents and provide loving support. YFC’s Parent Life ministry seeks to connect with expectant and parenting teens and their children. This is done through intentional relationships with caring adults and community partnerships. The aim is to empower teens to thrive in every aspect of their lives. YFC’s Parent Life wans to encourage them to further their education and move toward becoming life-long followers of Jesus Christ.
YFC Denver Area Parent Life and City Life Site Director Alexandra Straughter has a unique perspective of teenage parents. Once a teen mother herself, Straughter now utilizes her own personal story to relate to youth who are struggling with young parenthood.
The Teen Mom
“I had my first son when I was a freshman in high school,” Straughter said. “I felt so much judgment and shame. It felt like I didn’t have anyone to walk alongside me and provide me with resources, so I was incredibly isolated and alone. It forced me to grow up at a really young age and navigate the entire experience on my own.
“Now working with Parent Life, I see so many young women who have the exact same look of desperation I did. I feel compelled to step in and show them that there are resources. There are ways to help their children to stop this cycle. I actually still live in the same neighborhood I did when I got pregnant. My son graduated from the same high school I did. This made this outreach even more poignant for me.”
Parent Life Brings Positivity
Straughter said, “It is so important to build trust with young parents who feel that they have no one to rely on. My personal story opens the door for that connection. We have a unique opportunity to show these teens that we are a consistent and positive presence in their lives. We truly just want to love on them with the Gospel.”
YFC Parent Life’s impact on teen parents in the area often result in lifelong advocates of the ministry. Straughter said, “There is one teen mom who was in our Parent Life program for three years. She’s now graduated out of the program, is engaged to the father of her children, and going to college. She is such a strong mentor in our Parent Life program. She volunteers on our small group nights and is able to speak to struggling young moms who are going through the same things she did. She’s a living example of how going through the Parent Life program can positively alter your life.”