The next several years were the hardest of my life. But we made it. I now have an amazing young man for a son and I've built a career as a banker here in Grand Rapids. I believe that every tragedy can turn into trajectory for something wonderful in our lives.
But I can't leave my past behind.
As I was raising my son, I prayed for a way to support other teen mothers when I could. I prayed that God would break my heart for what broke His, and that is exactly what He did. I began putting together the framework for what would one day become a ministry called Grace's Table that serves unwed mothers.
Did you know that in Grand Rapids alone, 500 girls ages 15–18 become pregnant each year? Over 80% of them end up on welfare, 31% have another pregnancy within two years, and 51% never graduate from high school. The majority of these fatherless families never know stability. These young women have few resources and no one to turn to.
So often, the focus for teen pregnancies is on the choice of whether or not to choose life for that unborn child. Thankfully, most choose life. But then what? For many young women, having a child is a daily struggle for support, empathy, acceptance, and ultimately survival - a daily struggle against loneliness and alienation.
Isaiah 1:17 tells us, "Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow."
These unwed mothers are today's widows with no husbands or men stepping up to the plate. These infants are the fatherless we are called to defend.
This is where Grace’s Table comes in. We provide a hedge of protection around these fragile families to help them through the darkest times. Our volunteers and supporters are defenders who shield them as they grow into a fulfilling life and future for their family.
We help them work through their emotional, physical, and mental transitions as they become a teen parent with adult responsibilities. We share their triumphs and bear their pain. We help them achieve educational goals that lead to a better life. And as our girls focus on achieving their goals, we help them develop a sense of pride and strive to achieve even more. In short... we change the statistics.
But here's the problem.
Right now, Grace's Table meets in my home every Friday night. With the help of friends, I host a dinner for these unwed mothers and their babies every week. It is the greatest joy of my life. But the problem is so great, and there is still so much more we could do.
Here is our vision.
We need to grow Grace’s Table from a volunteer organization that meets in my home, to a full-fledged program that employs professionals who can teach our girls important skills for making it in life and building a solid foundation for their babies. We need housing for these girls, who often drift from sleeping on friends’ couches to staying in shelters.
You can become a defender of these girls. By helping us raise $150,000 by June 30, you can help us begin a life-changing ministry for the hundreds of girls who find themselves alone, frightened and struggling with a newborn baby in their arms.
As a Founding Family, you will provide:
An opportunity to change these families’ lives for generations to come.
A community that will link arms with the mothers.
Hope, which leads to feeling valued, which leads to living a life with purpose.
To achieve this vision, I am seeking:
+ 5 people to give $10,000
+ 10 people to give $5000
+ 10 people to give $2500
+ 20 people to give $1000
+ 100 people to give $100
Won’t you join us? There’s a place for you at Grace’s Table. To learn more and make a contribution by June 30, please click here to visit our website.
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