Does YoungLives Work? Survey Says.... Yes!

In an external survey taken by over 2,000 teen moms involved in YoungLives, the results are clear. Involvement in YoungLives - and particularly, involvement with a YoungLives mentor - produces deep, meaningful, and far-reaching change. Just take a look at a few of these graphics pulled from the YoungLives Impact Report (available for download or purchase here).

The survey concludes that:
The data confirms that YoungLives' method of putting relationships first - and giving teen moms a chance to give back - is working. From increased educational attainment and aspirations, to improved parenting skills, to a new sense of hope and purpose and a strong support system - YoungLives is making it possible for teen moms to beat the odds and build a secure future for themselves and their children. Not only do young moms gain a group of peers and mentors to help them navigate a daunting path, but they find value, meaning, and hope along the way. And that makes all the difference. 
YoungLives staff and volunteers can access the entire PowerPoint presentation of the findings here, complete with take-aways about strengthening mentor relationships, deepening faith conversations, and diversifying the racial/ethnic make-up of YoungLives staff and volunteers. 

Beyond YoungLives: How to Disciple & Transition Older Moms

What do you do with girls who are getting too old for YoungLives, or who are ready for the “next step” in their discipleship?

Below is a list of ideas that YoungLives areas have used to help older girls to find their place as leaders and role models, and also to facilitate healthy closure for older moms – creating space for mentors to move on to younger moms.

Campaigners - After girls officially graduate from YoungLives, they don’t come to Club any more - but they can still be invited to come to Campaigners for a year or so. Another option is to start a separate Campaigners group for the older girls, either with mentors who want to stay with their older girls or mentors who are ready to be involved in something different. 

Church - Emphasize how important it is for girls for to be connected in a church, and help them to find a church home where they feel comfortable and welcomed. Look for churches that have good childcare, small groups, culturally relevant services, access to bus lines, Saturday night or late Sunday morning services, etc. Find a small group that is willing to “adopt” a couple of older girls, and help them to get plugged in. Encourage girls to get involved in church activities besides just Sunday morning. Once one or two teen moms find a church where they feel at home, this can help to create a culture of church attendance in your YoungLives group – where teen moms start inviting their friends to church. This is even more effective than mentors inviting girls to church!

GraduationCreate a graduation plan with specific steps - goal-setting, junior leader training, and life skills classes. Encourage attendance, good behavior and meeting with their mentors through incentives like gift cards, camp scholarships and levels of achievement at graduation.
Here are a couple of examples:
Then hold a graduation celebration as a part of club at the end of each semester or school year to honor those young moms who have reached a certain age or milestone. Girls should be told about the graduation plan when they enter YoungLives. Their graduation date should also be a regular conversation with their mentor. Mentors can stay involved with graduated girls, but they are no longer officially their mentors. 

Junior Mentors - Create a model for girls to become junior mentors. Train them to take on more responsibility once they graduate. For instance, they can be responsible for finding their own childcare and/or transportation, partner with their mentor to mentor a new girl together, take on responsibilities as club helpers (program, sound, setup/teardown), help with transportation, lead Campaigners lessons, do contact work with you, etc.

Senior Group - Create a small group just for your senior/alumni girls, or suggest that one of your graduated girls organize and lead it. They can have their own Campaigners, go to church together, plan play dates together, watch one another’s children, and so on.

Support Network - Look for classes/groups for single parents, programs for mothers, Bible studies, and support groups at churches and pregnancy centers that the girls can join after they graduate. Or if they are married, help them to find a married couple’s Bible study to join with their husband.

Work Crew - Taking a few girls to a weekend camp to do work crew is a fantastic way for them to learn how to give back and for you to be able to pour into them for a few days straight - with no kids, friends, or family around to distract them! 
A few things to expect:
  • Lots and lots of laughter and bonding.
  • Watching them work really hard!
  • Having cabin time and debriefing about the experience.
  • Getting to share with them in the joy of service.
  • Lots of great side conversations throughout the weekend.
  • Listening to them snore for the entire ride home.
To volunteer for a work crew weekend, contact your Regional Director or your YoungLives Divisional Coordinator about opportunities near you.

Teen moms surprised at Love Field with trip to Disneyworld!

Oh my goodness, we LOVE this story! What a sweet, sweet demonstration of God's goodness and love for us. Way to go, Carrollton YoungLives!

See the full story here!

Discipleship... Exclusively for Teen Moms!

YoungLives has a great track record for introducing teen moms to a relationship with Christ. But we can't stop there! If we can get the next piece - discipleship - right, then there is incredible potential for seeing lives transformed - and not only the moms' lives, but their children's lives as well. 

So here it is – a practical discipleship tool for teen moms that can be used in groups and and in one-on-one times! Made New: Faith Conversations for Teen Moms explores over 30 relevant Bible stories that challenge teen moms towards a new way of thinking about their identity and the way that they handle everyday issues like friendship, sexuality, conflict, finances and parenting. Lessons include object lessons, conversation starters, video illustrations and even coloring pages to help teens of all developmental, grade, and interest levels to engage with the Bible in a new way. 

The book is broken down into four sections to address the four most important connections in a teen mom’s life:
• Self – growing her relationship with God.
• Child – learning to parent well.
• Others – developing healthy relationships with parents, friends, and baby daddies.
• World – finding her place at church, in school, and in the workplace

Made New: Faith Conversations for Teen Moms is the perfect leader's guide for a small group Bible study or Campaigners group

Made New: My Journal is packed with ways for teen moms and their leaders to apply the group lessons during one-on-one time or on their own

Order your copies here!

Quincy YoungLives Director Earns Award

Congratulations to YoungLives director Dana Caley, on being given the Phoenix Award by the Quincy, IL YWCA at their annual "Voice for All Women" program. Way to represent!

See the full story here

North Idaho Starting YoungLives this Fall!

Whoop, whoop! Great interview with Molly Starch of North Idaho - and so fun to hear that YoungLives is starting there this fall. Get the full interview here.

YoungLives Provides Hope for Teen Moms in Lewisville-Flower Mound

This is called good press: "Rather than simply helping teenage mothers by tossing diapers at them and saying good luck, a local group called YoungLives utilizes a different approach."

Way to go, Lewisville-Flower Mound YoungLives!

See the full story here.

Photo Scavenger Hunt

Summer is a great time for fun, social events that keep girls connected to each other and to you. Without regular events, it's easy to lose touch and for the group to start feeling disconnected. Here are a couple of pre-made YoungLives photo scavenger hunts to use or edit with your own personalized activities. It's guaranteed to be fun and refreshing - and the bonus is that you will collect lots of fun pictures (and memories!) from the event. You could even bring the kids along on this one and get some cute pictures of them, too. A picture of a couple toddlers on the floor making the word "MOM"? Too cute to pass up!