An Office Visit

Yesterday, as I was driving home from my YoungLives office, I was reflecting on what the week had looked like so far and what would need to be accomplished before we break for the Easter weekend. You know, a mid-week review of sorts. And really, this week has probably been a lot like your week – a full calendar, unpredictable, funny, lots of details to keep track of, and needs that may or may not be able to be met. It has included a lot of brainstorming and planning. A lot of emails and texts and printer jams. It has required flexibility and prayer. It has brought many smiles, some “whys?”, and a lot of, “oh my gosh, how are we going to pull all this off?” (those are my thoughts, not Myrna’s -lol!!!) Sound familiar? The thing that may set my week apart from yours is that YOU are actually a part of why I do what I do!

So, today, as I sit at my desk, I realize that it actually tells a good story of what we’re currently working on and since we are in it together, let me bring you in!

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  1. Annual Giving Gala Save the Date cards labeled, stamped, and in the mail for us – thanks Nicole! If you haven’t received yours, let me know!
  2. Program is prepped and printed for next week’s Banquet Committee meeting.
  3. A box of thank you notes waiting to be written (my heart writes these notes to our donors, supporters, and volunteers all the time but unfortunately, they take me a little longer to actually get from my heart to paper, to the mailbox – ugh!)
  4. On Monday, we had a YoungLives Regional Staff day in Carlsbad where we shared in a time of devotion and prayer, discussed upcoming camps and volunteer training days, heard a little bit of how things are going in other local YoungLives club and were given a book on Godly discernment in leadership – thank you Emilie!
  5.  Thank you to KelsyKenworthy.com for designing the flyer for the 3rd Annual North OC YoungLives Golf Tournament. They are now printed and ready to hand off to the tournament Director, Mike Nelson, who has taken his passion for golf to the next level in holding this benefit golf tournament for North OC YoungLives summer camp fund.
  6. Volunteer and Teen Parent sign-in sheets are printed and ready to go for next week’s Santa Ana Club night.
  7. Labels for the Baby Bottle “Change Lives” coin drive that two of our Committee members, Laurie & Cristen, are over-seeing for the second year in a row. Another fun way we raise money for the summer camp fund.
  8. This was a fun little surprise bag of toys given to us from one of our church partners to use as raffle prizes at next week’s Santa Ana Club night.
  9. A photo of four teen moms from last year’s Prom reminding me that we still have some details to get wrapped up for this year’s prom in June! (Don’t you LOVE the photos hanging at my desk of the teen parents and their little ones? Makes me smile each morning I get to my desk 🙂
  10. Staples on my desk – laptop and coffee.

WE are in this together. If you’re reading this, you’re invested – and if you’re invested with us, lives will continue to change. Young lives changing, this is what it is all about. Thank you for visiting! I LOVE that I get to be a part of this, I love that you get to be part of this.

Colleen Drew :: Area Office Admin

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My “Trust-Fall” with God

This week we introduce Amanda Bickert to you. Amanda is the Childcare Coordinator at the Huntington Beach Club and she has such a HUGE heart not only for the babies and toddlers but for the volunteers and pretty much all people. Here in her own words, is Amanda’s YoungLives story:

If you were to ask me seven months ago if I trusted completely in the Lord, I would have quickly responded with a shaky, unconfident “yes.” Last year I experienced God closer than I ever had before- He pulled me from darkness and showed me His love in miraculous ways. I was transformed, yet I still had trouble fully trusting Him. He had already done so much to prove His sovereignty and undying love for me, yet I felt I didn’t know what it was like to solely rely on Him. My friends would tell me about experiences on mission trips where they had no choice but to trust in God, to which I felt I could not relate. I was beginning to think I would never experience that level of trust, that level of intimacy with God. Then…YoungLives happened.

Last fall, I was approached with the opportunity to be the Childcare Coordinator for North OC YoungLives club nights. I had volunteered in childcare several years prior, so stepping into more of a leadership role felt like a natural step. God called me to take a step of faith, but I had no idea the lesson He was going to teach me along the way.

 

Fast-forward to my first club night as Childcare Coordinator- there were so many unknowns. I thought to myself, “What if no volunteers show up? Will the parents trust me with their children? What happens if a kid throws up (still my worst fear)? Will I fail at this task God has given me?” I was becoming overwhelmed in a situation I had voluntarily walked into.

But then I flashed back to a conversation with the previous Childcare Coordinator, Cristen. She told me that God always makes club nights happen. He knows every detail of the night and exactly what is needed to make it happen. He always shows up and is always faithful. At that point, I had two choices. I could continue to fear the night ahead of me, or I could turn to the feet of Jesus with arms open, hands empty, TRUSTING that He was going to provide.

Feeling like I was out of options, I turned to worship and prayer. God met me and reminded me how big He is and how small I am. In my weakness, He is my strength. God took my fear and replaced it with glory. He lovingly nudged me into the unknown, where I would have no choice but to trust in Him completely.

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If you’ve served in childcare to any degree, you know it is madness. It’s messy, loud, frustrating, and of course exhausting. I can honestly say that if I didn’t have Jesus, I would leave every club night in a heap of tears. BUT, Jesus is there. He shows up. He provides for His children. He makes every night worth it because I know He is doing great things in the hearts of the teen mom’s and dad’s in the room next door. He transforms the lives of the teens, volunteers, and YoungLives staff by us simply choosing to show up. He provides the perfect number of volunteers every week for the number of children we have. It’s stories like these that I couldn’t make up if I tried. God is literally in every aspect of club night. He knows and takes care of every detail.

I am eternally grateful that I get to witness the glory that this ministry radiates, and to learn first-hand what it means to rely on God fully. He desires for us to know and trust Him, but we must show up and be willing to stand empty-handed, prepared to let Him move.

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Amanda Bickert :: Childcare Coordinator

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Alejandra’s Viewpoint

For this week’s blog, we are excited to introduce you to one of our teen moms, Alejandra. She and her daughter Mariana attend the Santa Ana Club nights. She allowed us to send her a few interview questions and she so articulately sent her answers to us. (You’re going to love her!)

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How long have you been coming to
YoungLives?  I have been attending since I was pregnant in 2016.

How did you find out about YoungLives?  I found out about it when I was attending Santa Ana High School. They would come to teach parenting classes.

How would you describe what YoungLives is to a friend that doesn’t have a baby?  It is a club for teen parents. We have mentors that help us. We have dinner all together as a big family. We then have alone time and talk about God and do crafts while our kids are in the child care.

What would you say to another teen parent to convince them to try YoungLives?  Whenever I tell someone new to attend club, I tell them they won’t regret it. That they will have a lot of fun. Everyone is friendly. That we have dinner and make fun crafts. Every YoungLives mentor is always there for you. Including when you need help buying something for your baby.

What is your favorite part about club night?  My favorite parts about club are when we make crafts and talk about God. It gives me peace.

 

What are your dreams/goals?  I want to become a phlebotomist. To be able to provide for my daughter.

What is the hardest part about being a mom? What’s the BEST part?  The hardest part about being a mom is when your baby is sick because they get really fussy and you need a lot of patience. The best part about being a mom is EVERYTHING! Especially when my baby hugs me or just simply says, “Mom” or gives me a big smile.

♥ Alejandra, YoungLives teen mom

A Great Night

You know it’s going to be a good night at Santa Ana Club when Maria shows up with wood carved trays that hold vases of spring flowers, a scattering of Easter eggs, and candles. Along with her sweet assistant for the evening Alba (one of our alumni teen’s younger sisters…sweet huh?!)

You know it’s going be a good night at Santa Ana Club when the doors to the kitchen open up and you find out that Laura and team have chicken fajitas prepped for dinner  – mmmm, mmm, mmmm! Not to mention TWO different homemade cakes.

You know it’s going to be a good night at Santa Ana Club when one by one, volunteers and mentors come in ready to sort donated baby clothing, move tables, line up chairs, set up the nursery, prepare for a game, do whatever needs to be done.

You know it’s going to be a good night at Santa Ana Club when our small team of steadfast regular childcare volunteers that have been outpaced by the number of babies is joined by Jessica’s (one of our Huntington Beach mentors) WHOLE life group!

You know it’s going to be a good night at Santa Ana Club when Fred is prepped and excited to share the club talk with a full message of Hope just in time for Easter.

You know it’s going to be a good night at Santa Ana Club when Myrna has a bag full of hammers, metal stamping tools, round metal blanks, silver necklaces, and a bunch of volunteers at the ready to stamp out kid’s names, birthdates, etc… for the teen moms to have a takeaway from the evening.

BUT you know it’s going to be a great night at Santa Ana Club when the teen moms, teen dads, and the babies and toddlers enter the doors. All of the above, done for them. Done unconditionally for them. Done because we want these young families to know that we see them, we want to come alongside them to cheer them on, to encourage them in their brave walk through a life that can be lonely and hard, to give them a safe place to be a teen, to give them friendship, and to share a message of hope.

Tuesday was another great night at Santa Ana Club!

Colleen :: Area Office Admin

Beneath the OC Glitz & Glam

Natalie Iguchi is a wife, mom, co-pastor of Voice Church in Tustin, CA (along with husband, Taka) AND also a YoungLives mentor and Parenting Class volunteer educator. Her church family rallied together and abundantly showered blessing on the teen families at Santa Club in February. In Natalie’s own words:
My husband and I moved into Orange County about two years ago, and from day one, God began to open my eyes about what’s going on beneath the surface of all the glitz and glam- it’s hard to financially survive here as a dual income parent. I couldn’t imagine Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 1.24.18 PMhow hard it would be for a single, TEEN parent. God began to show me the immense need for support for teen and single parents in our area. I began to meet kids first hand and see all they were juggling between finishing school, working a job, and being a parent… so many tasks were overwhelming to do alone. God began to speak to my heart about coming alongside these amazing heroes and helping lift a bit of the burden for them as they work to succeed for themselves and their kids. I didn’t know exactly where to start, but I prayed steadfastly about what He would have me do. Shortly afterwards, a friend introduced me to Myrna from North OC YoungLives, and I knew immediately that this incredible program was the gift God wanted to give to our city and these parents!

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 1.25.13 PMMyrna asked me to teach a few parenting classes and meet the teens at the schools, and my heart continued to grow for them as I heard their stories and their daily struggles. This program is an answer to prayer for so many students and I’ve been honored that I can play a small part as a mentor and class instructor. This year, my husband and I are branching off to begin a new church, and our heart from the beginning has been to continue to connect and encourage our single parent community. As I began to share the need and the vision to our team, their hearts began to swell as we shared the stories of what many of these amazing kids are overcoming daily. All of them wanted to help in some way. Some were passionate about putting the gifts together, others gave financially, and still others wanted to serve.

 

In February, we were able to put our heads together and dream about what could happen if we could REALLY bless these teens in Santa Ana, and it was nothing short of beautiful!  The team really rallied in such an incredible way that we had MORE than enough for each teen… so much that we were able to share with another organization for Foster Teens! We were able to provide over 35 heaping bags of groceries, gift baskets packed with baby supplies, tons of extra diapers, medicines & supplies, and a Valentine gift for each parent to know that they are loved and special. Our team absolutely fell in love with the teens and the babies immediately, and they’re so excited to partner with YoungLives again. I know that this is only the beginning of what God has in store, and I’m believing that we will be able to do so much more down the road. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this amazing work!

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Natalie and her family