I learned about YoungLives through the school I work at. Volunteers from YoungLives come and speak to our high school teen moms and they love it. My first involvement was last year at the Prom they hold for local teen moms and teen dads – I helped out with childcare. From there I dove in and went to Summer Camp at Lost Canyon in Arizona and helped with childcare for the week. I initially signed up for the camp hoping to get the young moms at the school to go – you know, help them to feel a little more comfortable with going and bringing their children since they know me from school. Summer camp was an unbelievable experience! From then on, I knew I wanted to get more involved in this wonderful organization.
I attended the YoungLives Fall Kickoff (volunteer interest meeting) back in August. I figured I could step in and help with childcare since that’s what I know. Well, until lunch when I sat next to Myrna. She put a little bug in my ear saying that the Santa Ana Club was in need of a craft person and she heard that I like crafts. Myrna asked me to think about it and pray about it. I was unsure and nervous. I felt like it was a big job and I just wasn’t too confident. I came across this quote and it fit:
“When God calls you to do something it isn’t your job to decide if you’re good enough or if you know how to, or if it fits into the plans you have laid out for your life. It is simply your job to obey.” To say the least I’ve been leading the craft at the Santa Ana Club every month since then!
During the monthly Club craft time, we all join at a long table, the moms and the leaders, which gives us a chance to share and talk with one another while enjoying a little craft time. Getting to know the girls and their families is so nice. Some of the girls have started asking me at the beginning of each club what the craft is going to be. To hear them say that they look forward to what I set up for them along with their excitement fills my heart. Club brings so much joy and everyone makes you so welcome.
At times I feel that I might not really be doing much in my small role yet when a mom comes up, hugs me, and calls me by name it makes me so thankful to be a part of their lives, even if it may be for a small moment in time. I feel God led me here for a reason.
It is an honor to serve with YoungLives and all who are involved.
~Yvette Reynoso, Craft Leader
My journey with YoungLives started almost eight years ago. I became a mother at the age of 18 when I gave birth to my son. Right after I turned 21, I decided I wanted to encourage and work with teen mothers in some way. I knew first-hand how important it was to have a strong support system when bringing a child into the world at a young age. YoungLives fell into my lap and after attending the first barbeque I knew this was something I had to be a part of.
Over the years I have attended many clubs. I have played games, sang songs, eaten lots of delicious food and watched mothers grow up alongside their babies. The most important thing I have witnessed month after month is the lives that have forever been changed because of messages shared and love shown through volunteers.
This past month was no different. Every month YoungLives club has a theme, and the month of February is obviously the month of love. When talking about February and love most people think of valentines and the romantic kind of love. While those things are great, there are many other kinds of love that can be celebrated: love for a friend, love between a parent and child, and the love shown to us by our Heavenly Father. All of these different kinds of love were celebrated at YoungLives this last month.
I am still overwhelmed when I think of all the volunteers who showed up to make this night so special for our teen moms and babies. Hair stylists came and offered to give the children haircuts. I watched as some of the babies I have known since birth received their first haircuts ever. After eating homemade tacos and hearing an important message on what sin is, the moms were asked to split up into small groups so the fun could begin.
Volunteers had set up different stations for the moms to participate in. The stations included make your own floral bouquets, a makeup and eyebrow bar, pictures in front of valentine’s backdrop, and a hair braiding station. While the moms moved between the different stations, mentors held their places at the table to go deeper into the conversation of the message that had just been shared.
My heart melts thinking of the mothers walking out of club with their hair braided and smiles on their faces holding handfuls of flowers and heart shaped cookies. All of these gifts were such blessings, but at the end of the day the best gift we can give to every mom, dad and baby who walks through the door is the gift of God’s love showing through us. I have personally seen this love poured out month after month and because of this my life will never be the same. I am so grateful to be a part of this ministry. ♥ Cassandra Snook ~ YoungLives Mentor
Cassandra (in the center) with two of her YoungLives friends.