MOPS provides encouragement and acceptance

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Today, many teenagers are struggling to fit into an adult world. They are facing making adult decisions while their peers are dreaming about the next prom or football game or choosing the university that they will attend.

In this group of teens facing adult situations are teenage mothers. Women who have chosen to love and keep their child no matter what difficulties this decision may bring.

According to the Gabriel Project of East Texas, three in ten American teen girls will get pregnant at least once before age 20. The project also states that approximately 25 percent of teen moms have a second child within 24 months of their first baby.

In Canyon Lake, there is an organization that desires to walk beside these teen mothers, married or single, helping them in making decisions and finding direction.

Childcare is provided during MOPS meetings and at no cost to the mothers. Photo provided by Pat Van Dyke

Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) started when several women met and desired to go beyond MOPS. They wanted to touch the lives of the youngest of the group: the women who are struggling to maintain their duties as mothers while, at the same time, looking forward to completing school, becoming financially independent and seeking friendships which will allow them to grow emotionally. They wanted to make a difference in the lives of teenage mothers.

Trisha Aspengren, a MOPS leaders, says, “I wasn’t a teen mom myself, but a product of one. I saw the struggles my mom went through and thankfully because she had the support of her church and parents she was an awesome role model for me. I want to be that for others!”

Getting started wasn’t easy. Information was placed at local continuation schools, pregnancy centers, doctor offices and the WIC office. Social media also was used as Instagram (canyonlaketeenmops) and Facebook (Canyon Lake Community Church Teen Moms) provided and continues to provide a means of communication with teenage mothers.

Kyra, a teen mom, explains how she learned about Teen MOPS: “I happened to be on Facebook when a fellow Teen MOPS mother posted a status explaining what Teen MOPS was and that all young mothers were invited to join the group. So I decided to take up the offer and go to the meeting, and I’ve been part of the group ever since.”

Many of the teen moms who desired to attend the meetings had difficulties with transportation costs and childcare. This problem was quickly solved with generous supporters who provided funds for childcare and gas cards.  Several of the leaders helped by providing transportation to and from the bimonthly meetings.

Soon Teen MOPS was formed and it began making a difference in lives through emotional support, accountability, useful information, and most of all, acceptance of one another.

MOPS meetings are held at Canyon Lake Community Church (CLCC) September through May on the first and third Sundays of the month from  5:30 to 7:45 p.m. Childcare is provided at no cost. Young moms can always count on a hot meal for themselves and their children that is kindly donated by a women’s Bible study group from CLCC.

The meetings consist of a devotional time: guest speakers that vary from gourmet chefs, experts on disciplining with love, information on how to find grants and financial aid for college, time management, setting strategies and hearing from former teen moms who have been successful at parenting and loving their children with a godly perspective.

Teen MOPS also provides other types of support such as clothing for the children, diapers, wipes, toys, and sometimes even furnishings for a nursery. All of this is donated by individuals who have recognized the needs of these deserving women.

One of the most loved aspects of Teen MOPS is the involvement of their beloved Kay Busse. Kay fills the role of a loving grandmother in the lives of each girl. So many of the teen moms do not have a relationship with their grandmother and Kay fills this need in an amazing way. She shares personal stories about struggles that she has had over the years. Kay leads the teen moms in their devotional time. She prays for each participant every day and the results is plainly seen in the transformed lives of each teen mom.

Teen MOPS leader, Dyanna Sousa, has discovered that “Teen MOPS is the tightest but most welcoming sisterhood in the valley.”

Teen mother, Kyra shared her thoughts concerning Teen MOPS from a teenage mother’s perspective: “I see the purpose of Teen MOPS to be a group where young women who are mothers can go to love the Lord, learn more about Him in a safe place where they feel welcomed and loved.”

For more information about MOPS, contact Canyon Lake Community Church at 951-244-1877.

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