Just 10 years ago Lisa Steven opened the doors of Hope House to teen moms offering them a place of refuge and support. Now years later Steven, her staff and many volunteers are helping over 110 teen moms a year in the Denver-metro area get on their feet and move closer to a self-sufficient life.
“In July 2003 our first teen mom walked through the newly opened doors of Hope House’s Residential Program with her baby girl, a broken car seat and a trash bag full of clothes,” said Steven, the executive director.
“I never dreamed that 10 years later Hope House would become a community of hundreds of volunteers and staff to help teen mothers in our community build stable lives for their little ones.”
Hope House is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged teen moms become self-sufficient.
The organization has a residential program in Arvada sheltering teen moms who are homeless or living in unsafe environments, and also has a resource center in Westminster which opened this January.
The center is focused on providing programs on mentoring, the GED, parenting and healthy relationships and also features a learning lab.
Staff, past and current moms and city officials celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Hope House Aug. 22 in the outdoor pavilion of Heritage Community Bible Church in Arvada with food, music and children’s activities.
“Hope House was appropriately named,” said Westminster Mayor Nancy McNally during the celebration.
“The young women are given hope in so many ways: encouragement, educational opportunities, counseling, mentoring, help learning to be a parent, and support to become the person they were born to be.”
Steven said it’s been a privilege making relationships with so many young ladies and seeing them grow over the years and become self-sufficient women, some buying homes and starting careers.
With Hope House as metro-Denver’s only resource for providing teen moms free residential programs as well as many other support services, Steven said it’s her goal to partner with other organizations to expand services and resources to teen moms nationally and internationally.
“Our focus in not so much on building on serving more girls ourselves,” she said. “We want to develop partnerships where we can all work together and learn from each other because there are very little private organizations out there serving parenting teen moms.”
One thing that is expanding at Hope House is the programming.
Recently a new program was developed called the Career Partner Program, which connects teen moms to employers in the community to help teen moms gain more experience in the job world.
Steven said in order for a teen mom to survive on her own, she needs to make at least $12 an hour, which is tough to achieve with a teen mom’s hectic schedule and lack of job experience.
“We are really looking for businesses to go out on a limb with a young lady who may have challenges in her life and give them an internship to help them and show them how to have a job,” she said.
“That way the internship can be on their resume and they can make it to the next step of getting a real job or career.”
For more information on Hope House or volunteer opportunities, visit www.hopehouseofcolorado.org.