Blessings believes that people grow in four ways: physically, mentally, spiritually and socially. This Mother's Day weekend, volunteers can work on their physical fitness while assisting a group that helps young mothers continue their education while taking care of a baby.
Blessings is a non-profit organization established for providing child care funds for teenage moms in Summit and Portage Counties, allowing them to remain in school.
The is scheduled for May 12 at 10 a.m. Participants can choose to walk, run or bike 3, 6, or 8-miles..
Malika Nowden, of Kent, is benefitting from the program right now and said her life would be a lot different without the help of Blessings.
"The group has members I truly trust, and I feel like I can turn to these people for advice and help when I need it," the almost 17-year-old said. "The parent mentor is a good friend and a wonderful mentor for me! I am lucky!"
Nowden is one of 30 students who have taken advantage of the program since it began in 1995, said Kelly Foreman, who is a Blessings mentor.
Our program began when the Six District Compact’s GRADS teacher realized many teen moms were dropping out of school because they were unable to pay for childcare," she said, adding that 80 percent of the money raised for the program is used for childcare costs.
Childcare costs approximately $200 or more per week.
Of the 30 students, some "have now completed both undergraduate and graduate college programs. Blessings helped these students reach their future goals of independence by providing a link to future job opportunities via the completion of their high school diploma and college coursework," Forman said.
Nowden, who has a 3-year-old, said because of the program her daughter can go to daycare while she finishes high school.
"I plan to study nursing after graduating from high school. I would like to attend Kent State University, Tri-C, or Stark State," she said.
On top of being able to finish out her education, Malika said her life has been enhanced in other ways.
"I'm going to church more ... they are helping me to be more positive about life and they help with daycare expenses," she said. "I'm experiencing a spiritual awaking and accepting Christ as my personal savior."
Foreman said as a mentor parent, she too is counting her "Blessings."
"Personally, I have been profusely blessed to see two girls grow into beautiful Godly woman who desire to be the best moms, students, and believers they can be. It is such an amazing gift to have the opportunity to work with such survivors as these girls are and see them graduate high school and have support in gaining the skills necessary to accomplish their goals," she said.
How You Can Get Involved
Volunteers from the community are encouraged to contact Jeanette Abell, 330-678-0888 or email@example.com for specific information on volunteer needs.
In addition donations of infant and toddler clothing and/or equipment may be made to Blessings.
Bike/Hike Fundraiser: Community volunteers are needed to participate in the upcoming bike-hike, to help raise money for the program.