TLC: A Proposed Residential Program

Help us to make the dream of a residential program for young moms and their children a reality.  

A young single mom raising her child alone is often forced to enter the adult world before she has had time to fully develop the life skills necessary to build a strong family for herself and her child. Some young parents may have left their previous home and are coping with parenthood demands, while they themselves lack basic independent living skills. No matter how academically or vocationally prepared, smart, or mature a young parent might be, a major deficit in life skills can prove disastrous.

This is our vision: 

Our first goal with each new family admitted will be stabilization and healing in a non-threatening environment that welcomes each young mother with her child(ren)(born or not yet born). They will soon have shelter, food, toys, acceptance, and mentors. Once the family has settled in, help will be provided to get the parent enrolled in appropriate programs. 

With the preliminaries taken care of, the program will go into full swing. Children may be enrolled in the onsite daycare. Moms will be directed to job training/employment opportunities, and the life skills portion of the program will be made available to them. Our young women will experience the same independence as other working adults, but with the direct support of mentors and supportive peers. 

Life skills, as the name suggests, are necessary, practical skills learned through experience. Many young parents, in  assuming the responsibility for their own children,  have experienced first-hand the harsh reality of adult life.  In our program, each mom will have the opportunity for self growth while at the same time having a managed structure to fall back on. These young women and their children will immediately become part of a household with duties that include meal preparation, laundry, and household management. Within each house there will be both private space for families and shared communal space for social interaction. The social element is designed to limit isolation and increase the sense of peer support.   

The life skills program  is designed to be completed within a three year time frame. It consists of six different courses which will be offered on a continuous basis. Each course will consist of approximately 50 lessons and takes one year to complete. Courses repeat at the end of each 12 mo. period and may be entered at any time. Each adult resident will be encouraged, through monetary reward, to be enrolled in two of these six courses at any given time period. Courses may be taken in any order and begun at any stage of curriculum as each lesson is independent of the preceding lesson. If the parent utilizes the program to the fullest, at the end of three years all six courses will have been completed. The courses are:

Money Management & Consumer Awareness:

Job skills: application, interview, resume, job seeking, job maintenance

Money: banking, MO, income tax & W-2, savings, tithes, sales tax

Budgeting: transportation, rent, food, medical, recreation, savings

Wisdom: buying VS renting, child support, interest (CC), late fees, legal support, want ads, new vs used, time management, goal setting

Practical Skills:

Educational: resources, costs, enrollment, transcripts

House keeping: laundry, kitchen, floors, bathrooms, bedrooms

Transportation: maintenance, insurance, drivers license, registration

Repairs: water shut off, electrical, evacuation, painting

Food management:

cooking: vegetables, meat, grains, legumes, recipes, menus, 

safe food handling & left overs, nutritional needs

food budget tips: coupons, bulk, labels, eating out, kid friendly 

grocery shopping: lists, fresh vs. frozen vs. canned, seasonal, discounted

Childhood Development:

prenatal care: labor and delivery, development for ages 0-1, birth control

childhood development for ages 1-4

childhood development for ages 5-12

concerns: discipline, illness, school, child care, emergencies, dads, obesity

Interpersonal Skills:

Abuse: physical, mental, substance abuse, self concepts

Teamwork: community resources, relationships, communication

Decision-making  skills:  thinking skills, goal setting, time management

Coping Skills: stress, feelings, Negotiation skills, legal skills

Personal Appearance; Hygiene; Health:

Hygiene: skin, hair, nails, clothing, dental, bedding, pets, 

Health: record keeping, birth control & pregnancy planning, posture, preventive, exercise, hydration

emergencies safety: fire, water, electric, meds., hurricanes, evacuations

etiquette: table manners, invitations, phone, introductions, how to make a reservation, how to make/break/confirm an appointment 

Recreation and family time are very important elements in a well balanced life. With that in mind, activities for family fun will be offered. Examples are: an ice cream social, sidewalk art, a neighborhood walk, a sing along, or a tea party. Holidays and special events will be celebrated. 

Community involvement is important and is also part of a well balanced life. Activities involving others in the community will be offered such as: a community garden, community members invited to share in both the preschool and the parent life skill program, church involvement, and community service. Opportunities to participate in community events will be made available such as library services, local sporting events, local art/music events and community theater.

Another component of our program is our referral services which include:

pregnancy testing

adoption information & support

childbirth classes 

abuse counseling 

substance abuse

employment resources 

infant and children’s clothing  

physical & mental health

As each resident nears graduation time, she will be helped to plan for her transitional move. In the final phase of the program, each young mom will construct a clear strategy for her next step. She will transition out of the program better prepared to meet the  challenges and joys of independent living. Families successfully transitioning out of the program will receive earned rent vouchers. Each mom will be helped to create a vision for her future and for her child’s future. This vision is translated into a personal strategic plan with concrete action steps to make the vision a reality. Our goal is to have prepared each young mom in terms of skills, initiative, personal vision, maturity, and overall wellness, enabling her to step into a life of healthy, responsible independence and self-sufficiency that she has created for herself rather than living a life over which she has little or no control. 

The environment we are working to create is a learning environment which will support each young woman in the development of her mind, body, and spirit. Through a combination of family style living, employment, counseling, and child care services, we invite the moms to create a life they will be passionate about living. We envision a generation of young women who love and believe in themselves and who possess the character, self-discipline, and courage to be productive members of their communities and to pass on these traits to their children.