In Texas, the rate of teen births is the fourth highest among the states. With unplanned pregnancy in teens comes an increased risk of poverty, abuse, developmental delays and health issues. This Bravo! Story of Good follows one Dallas teen’s journey into motherhood and the community that helped her along the way.
After getting kicked out of her shared living situation for being pregnant, Jayla found herself without a home. During the day, she went to the local public library to get on the computers and look for housing she could afford. At night, the teenager found open park benches to sleep on. She worried about her safety, but what else could she do? She had nowhere to go.
One day, she found out about Viola’s House, an emergency placement shelter for teen mothers faced with an unplanned pregnancy, who may also be at-risk for or experiencing homelessness.
Viola’s House is a well-established nonprofit organization with partners all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including St. John Church Unleashed and Cornerstone Baptist Church. The churches have been an integral part of supporting the mission. Cornerstone Baptist provides the housing, advisory council, and spiritual services. What started with a two-bedroom apartment is now a two-story home that houses six young women and their babies, with another home being added soon.
Due to the rising cost and unending need for diapers, support from St. John Church Unleashed includes hosting a diaper drive. What may seem like a small donation ends up having a huge impact. "One case of diapers will serve four mothers,” says Thana Hickman-Simmons, “St. John has brought to us 55 cases of diapers. That impact is enormous as to the amount of mothers we can serve with those diapers."
Through all their partners’ support, the programs, staff, and volunteers of Viola’s House were able to offer Jayla food, shelter, and clinical services throughout her pregnancy. Those services helped her with the necessary skills she needed to succeed. Without help, too much was at stake for Jayla and her baby.
Now, Jayla is thriving. She has permanent housing and a car. Viola’s House, says Jayla, “helps you move forward and grow as a person, as a woman.” She’s proud of how far she’s come, and she should be.
By donating to St. John Church Unleashed, you are joining the most generous community of givers, who find joy in nurturing pregnant teens in finding self-confidence on their journey toward independence and motherhood. The need at Viola's House is growing. Each day, many young expectant mothers contact the program for assistance. Currently, Viola's House has a waiting list of a dozen or more young mothers who are awaiting assistance.