Thanksgiving Club in HB

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Another amazing YoungLives Club Night. As we took a moment to sit back and enjoy the company of our family and  friends and give ourselves to those we met for the first time- the teen moms , teen dads and their beautiful children and new volunteers . It was such a joy to sit around the dinner tables to share a great Thanksgiving meal of the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes , cranberry sauce, salad , dinner rolls with melted butter (yum) and the wonderful assortment of holiday pies for dessert.

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Thanksgiving dinner provided by Albertsons at the Newland Center and prepared by a life group

The tables were so beautiful with the harvest flowers , pumpkins and candy treats. While sharing in great conversation with the teen moms and dads, catching up on their lives. I could see so many smiles and laughter across the room on everyone’s faces. I couldn’t have had a better time! What a blessing to be apart of YoungLives. Hanging out with Yessie and meeting David , Gracie’s dad for the first time was such a pleasure. Amber looked so beautiful with her long braided hair. Yessie, Cheridan and Aylin put a smile on my face to hear they were working so hard at their jobs for their babies.

As Cooper played guitar, my heart soared! With everyone singing along and swaying to his voice of the song “Lean On Me”, reminded me that we need to lean on Gods promise when we get down and are going through hard times. Cause our Lord and Savior will always be there for US ALL and we can always call on Him because HE IS always around. Now that’s an awesome thought! As for the oreo cookie game? Not quite sure what to think , but Britney did a great job of making those cookies stick to her body! Who knew licking the inside of an Oreo cookie and sticking it to your body would work? Too funny absolutely too funny. What fun it was cheering on the two teams

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Oreo game!

After a fun game, “Chick” shared a great message about hurt and forgiveness . “We can always choose to forgive others , pray everyday for them and encourageeach other. After “Chicks” message , Cooper finished up with more beautiful songs “Grace Wins” and “My Savior My God”. Next the moms would move over to arts and crafts where they would create beautiful Christmas wreaths with gold rings, yarn , colorful beads and greenery, Tracy always comes up with a great theme for the night! The teen dads would spend quality time with the men . What another amazing Club Night! So much to be thankful for. Blessings to everyone!

Sandra I. Calvillo- Hendren

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Yessie and Sandra before prom 2016

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YoungLives Going Deeper

This morning I got to stand outside a local continuation school with my hands in one of our beautiful mentors’ hands and pray for each of the girls that sat on the other side of the school walls by name. We prayed for them and many that sat in those seats before them. We prayed that they would feel the Lord’s undeniable presence in their lives, that God would speak to them and give them wisdom as they make decisions for themselves and their children. We prayed that they would be surrounded by people that love and support them in their day-to day lives.

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 Some moms at one of our first clubs

As I drove away from the school, rehearsing new names and faces, I remembered the first set of young moms I met in that very classroom four and a half years ago. They had the same hesitancy about coming to club and to camp and they too were, and still are, hard working incredible mamas. As I meet the new moms I
get excited because I know that myself and the other mentors get a front row seat to all that God is going to do in their lives. At the same time, my heart is connected to those faces that have graduated and are now being used in many different places and ways.

One thing that has been on my heart for a few years now was to do more with those graduated moms. After many years of being a part of YoungLives, being mentored, invested in, etc I have always felt like it didn’t make sense for that to end simply because the number of days they’ve been on this earth no longer ends with “-teen.” Many of them have stayed connected and even volunteer at club but I wanted to go deeper- to see them continue to be poured into and discipled. Hence the name for our new group YoungLives Going Deeper that was started at the beginning of the school year.

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YoungLives Going Deeper October 2016

Going Deeper meets every other Monday morning over Bagels and Bibles. We’ve talked about our identity in Christ, spending time in the Word of God, becoming a new creation, and prayer. I remember at the end of our first meeting when I asked, “So is this something we should keep doing?” I heard responses like “I am so glad you decided to do this, we really need it” and “I would come every week, or even every day!” Today the girls are asking to learn more about prayer and say that they love having a safe place to be with moms that are in a similar life stage. We are learning how to live out our own faith and seek God in the midst of all that comes our way. To top it off, we get to see those once newborn babies running around and playing tea party and hide and seek together.
I can’t wait to watch the new generation of moms go deeper someday too!
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A few of the Going Deeper moms- November 2016

To all the teen dads out there!

I have been involved with YoungLives since the inception, a little over four years ago when Myrna and Yousef started this awesome ministry.  I have had the pleasure to watch and see the incredible fruit that God has done to minister to these young moms, their kids, and some of the dads. img_6792

I want to give a shout out to not only the young moms who have had to make such difficult decisions to raise their children under very difficult circumstances, but also a big shout out to the dads who have hung in there and are being there for their kids and their girlfriends.  I have had the pleasure to watch some of these YoungLives dads grow into becoming a better father and boyfriend.  When I attend Club in Huntington Beach and Santa Ana and see the dads show up, it brings a big smile to my face.  It makes me realize these young men are eager to not only get their lives right with God, but also to learn how to become the best father and boyfriend they can be.

It is also encouraging to see some of these dads, who have been hardened by their upbringing in crazy family situations and gang involvement, do a 180 degree turn, turn their life over to God, and begin to try to follow His path, no matter how bumpy and crazy it may be.  By talking to some of these dads, they really don’t want to repeat the same crazy upbringing they had with their father.  Many of these young men had poor relationships with their fathers, or no relationship because their father was never around.  And that is a big step for these men to realize they want to be a different kind of dad, one who is more loving and compassionate and giving and able to provide as best as they can for their child. yl_oct-64

I want to encourage all YoungLives moms to invite their baby’s father to club in either Santa Ana or Huntington beach, even if they are not in relationship with them.  We have a group of men who wants to love and support these young dads by just hanging out, eating, and sharing about our relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and watch Him do His work. There are many men involved in the program who are excellent role models and fathers for this young dads.  We have time to kick the soccer ball around and share and pray for these young men as they face some incredible trials of trying to be the best Dad and maybe the best boyfriend they can be for their girlfriend.

So my invitation is for all the YoungLives dads who may have heard about Club, but never thought it might be a good fit for them, I would like you to come and check it out.  We have some great men who help volunteer and love to just hang out with you guys.fred-santa-ana

And for anyone who may read this blog and may be interested in checking out YoungLives as a volunteer or financial support, come lend a hand at our Annual Christmas Boutique for the teens on Friday, December 16 (email northocyounglives@gmail.com to sign up).  We are always looking for new faces to be involved as little or as much as you want to pour out God’s word and his blessing to these incredible YoungLives moms and dads and their babies.  And when you show up or financially support this ministry, you will not only be blessing these young parents, but you will be incredibly blessed by God.  I know I have been so blessed being a part of this Ministry.

Fred Cianciolo

God is looking for an open and willing heart.

First I would like to take the opportunity to tell you how blessed  I am by meeting so many sweet people in the last years while serving at Younglives.  My name is Maria Randall and I serve at the Santa Ana Club.  I have served in different roles in the last 4 years.  I first approached Myrna in search of  serving  a Young Moms ministry in the City of Santa Ana.  Myrna had shared with me her vision of starting a Club in Santa Ana.  I was very happy that  she also had a vision of seeing a group started in the  City of Santa Ana.  I have read  that  the City of  Santa Ana is one of the leading cities in the country of Teen pregnancies.  My heart  goes out to the young teens that have very limited resources and support.
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Maria,Cristen,Laurie, and Ellen at the first Santa Ana club!

When I first started as a  volunteer I would drive girls  to the Huntington Beach Club  at Calvary Chapel Refuge.  I was able to meet new teens and their babies.   It was so  nice to develop relationships with some of the  girls that I drove to Club.

By the second year that I was  volunteering I was given the opportunity to mentor a teen mom named Maria.  Maria had moved out of the area and later I mentored a new Teen mom named  Georgina.   I have become  very good friends with Georgina and also her family.   We continue to hang out often and we  have also attended church together.  I have seen  Georgina grow to a Young lady and I have helped her in Prayer, support and guidance.
During my 2nd year with Younglives, I also had the opportunity to help in starting the Santa Ana Area Campaigners.  I  opened my house and we started our first Campaigners meeting,  Campaigners is a smaller group setting where  Teens and volunteers want to grow closer to  God and we have bible study and fun activities.  During this year the Teen moms from the Santa Ana and Costa Mesa area grew closer together along with the  volunteers.   I also became friends with a handful of Teen moms and have opened my home to them  for small gatherings and  movie nights.  During this year I also helped in coordinating a Spa day for the girls.

By the third year serving at YL, Myrna asked me to coordinate the first  Christmas club at the Yost Theater in the City of Santa Ana.

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Christmas 2016 at the Yost Theatre

  This was a very big task but I relied on Jesus to iron out all of the details.
For God nothing is too Big and the event was a success.  I also grew in my role as I served in this ministry. My love for the ministry and the Young Teens of Santa Ana grew as I  saw first hand some of the struggles a lot of our Teens are facing in  our surrounding cities today.
In January of 2016 the first Santa Ana Club was planted  at Newsong Church. Myrna asked me to be the coordinator for the remainder of the year and I gladly stepped in to serve.   During this year I was also able to visit a High School in the city of Santa Ana and spend some time with some of the Teen moms and dads during their lunch time. This year I have had the opportunity to use some of my crafting skills to help out in decorating the Santa Ana Club.
When I was asked to write about my involvement and volunteer work with YoungLives, Initially  I didn’t know how to write it because I didn’t want the blog to be about Me. I want to make sure that when people read my story that they would see God’s plan being accomplished.
  In 1992  I was 17 and I was a Teen Mom.  I grew up in a small Hispanic community a lot like  the city of Santa Ana.  I was brought up by my  loving parents.  My mom is a prayer warrior and she handed down her  belief in prayer to all of her 7 children. I also grew up in a small 1 bedroom house. Pretty  similar to a lot of our teen parents living situations today. My parents worked hard and have always wanted the best for our family. As I look back and think of my young life as a mom, I would have never imagined that God would have used my life in order to serve with a ministry for young parents. God restored and truly changed my life.  As humiliating  as it was to be a teen mom 25 years ago,  you can now see that God had a plan and a purpose in my life.
If you are reading this, and you are considering in joining this ministry,  I can tell you that our life is a  beautiful  vessel  and Jesus uses it fulfill his plan ( 2 Timothy 2:21).  If you are a young parent reading this, I hope that you are encouraged by reading this and  you see what an answered prayer looks like. My mom prayed for my safety, protection and that I would become a Godly Mother and Wife one day. I believe that my mom got her prayers answered.
God is just looking for an open and willing  heart, my life has had many twists and turns, but He used me with no skills and no training.
 I treasure all of the friends and wonderful moments at Younglives.
-Maria Randall