I had my daughter Heather when I was 17. I was a shy teenager but did get into some trouble by skipping school and obviously participating in activities I should not have been doing at that age. A representative from TMC came to my school and recruited a couple of girls that were pregnant at the time. I decided to check out the program because I was having a baby and needed to continue working and going to school after my daughter was born, and I found out that they were going to help pay for daycare.

When I first started the meetings, it was a little awkward for me as everyone was very welcoming and accepting and I did not expect that. I thought, “Oh no, I am going to TMC at this church and they are going to try to lecture me and talk to me about ‘church stuff.’” It turned out that the workshops I attended every Thursday night taught me many things that I now use as an adult in my everyday life such as writing a resume, balancing my checkbook and taking care of my children. The classes were informative but more importantly, everyone was my friend. They were there for me through everything. I was assigned a mentor mom (Stephanie Petty), who was like a second mother to me. We also hung out regularly and she was never judgmental of me but was always my friend. She listened to what was going on in my life and gave me advice that I took to heart.

Not only did TMC help me “pay” for daycare for my daughter so that I could work and finish school, but more importantly, they taught me that even though I was in this situation, I could still do anything I wanted in life. They helped me build more confidence in myself and become more appreciative of my daughter. They helped me through getting my first apartment, going through college and starting my career. Their support was always there.

I am now 32 and looking back, I realize that the TMC program helped me through so many life experiences. That shy teenager is now one of the top sales reps for a well-known telecom company, as well as a homeowner, and I also have a wonderful family with two beautiful daughters and a loving husband. I don’t believe I would be in the position I am in today without the help of TMC. The financial and emotional support has been overwhelming. TMC did not push “God” stuff at me. They showed me that through God’s love and that of friends, you can do anything. I now know and teach my girls they can do anything in life with the support of friends, family and God’s love.  I continue to support TMC and recommend the program to others, as they were critical in helping me become who I am today.

Thank you for reading my story and thank you Christa March, Mona Boelens, Heidi Blair, and Stephanie Petty and all of the other volunteers at TMC.

Jennifer Harrington