Interview with Parent Life Director Faith May

Posted on by Laura Green

Faith, how long have you been Director of the Parent Life program?

     I first volunteered with Youth for Christ for four years, and August will officially make my third year as Director.

What is Parent Life and who do you seek to help with this ministry?  

     Parent Life is a ministry geared toward pregnant and parenting teens and their families.  It seeks to provide physical, social, emotional, and spiritual support to parenting and pregnant teenage girls. Our ministry focus is on building Christ sharing relationships while resourcing teenage parents in our community for their future.  One of the ways we resource teenage parents is by providing baby items needed for their parenthood journey.  And it's through this combination of spiritual, emotional, relationship, and physical needs support that teenage parents find their success in the program.  

How many teen parents did you have over the 2016-2017 school year?

     There were around 50 girls who participated in the program, and each girl was involved with different aspects of the program.

For the last 8 years, the Parent Life program has had a 95% graduation rate for the teen mothers who attend the program, while the national average graduation rate for teen parents is only around 40%.  What are some of the top reasons why Parent Life is so successful for teen parents?

     I honestly can’t say that there is a special formula or process involved, as every person's experience is different. However, we’ve found that doing life with these young ladies, really building Christ sharing relationships with them, while engulfing them into our culture, not only encourages them, but helps them stay in school and graduate.

What are some of the greatest challenges teen parents face today?  Why? 

     Well, if we take the time to examine what we're really dealing with, you’ll find a pretty complex situation.  Teen parents deal with all of the same challenges that non-parented teenagers face while facing parenthood simultaneously.  Every situation is a little different from the next, however, every teen parent struggles with new challenges, and life becomes exponentially more complicated.  When you consider the many challenges first time parents may encounter you can begin to compassionately understand their situation. Imagine going from the fear of telling your parents, to the excitement of a brand new bundle of joy that you have created, or from wanting to hide your baby bump from high school classmates to taking maternity pictures. How about relying on your parents for everything one day to realizing you are now responsible for someone else and their well-being with little to no guidance the next. These young parents are faced with so much and Parent Life is here to help them navigate those sometimes scary moments.

Why do you feel a relationship with Jesus will help teen parents overcome their obstacles?

     Many of these young parents are looking for love and in all the wrong places. God IS love. And I firmly believe Jesus is the only answer to fill that void.

     We see Jesus' compassion toward people in many instances in the bible, especially toward those who have been misjudged or mistreated, or who simply find themselves down the wrong path or in an overly complex situation.  A biblical example of someone being judged and rejected in the bible is the parable about the woman who cleaned and perfumed Jesus' feet.  She was a known sinner and was judged by many.  Jesus accepted her ministry to him and scolded his self-righteous friend, who wanted to stop her and avoid what she had volunteered to offer. Jesus did not reject her.  He had told the woman that her sins were many, but completely forgiven. His grace is sufficient - always - and most importantly, it’s sufficient when ours is not!  

How many schools in Tuscaloosa does Parent Life program partner with currently?  

     We currently have biweekly meetings in three schools: Tuscaloosa County, Central, and Northridge high schools.  However, we welcome girls from any school in our area. 

And how long has the Parent Life program been around in Tuscaloosa?

     Parent Life (formally known as Teen Moms) has been around for around 14 years here in Tuscaloosa.  

If you could have one prayer answered for the 2017-2018 school year, what would that prayer be?   

     To be fully funded so that we can continue to grow and expand every aspect of our ministry into neighboring schools in our community.

If someone wants to help the Parent Life ministry or Youth for Christ, how can they do this?  

     If a person is moved to help Parent Life or Youth for Christ financially, they can go to our website and then click on the GIVING tab.  Our website is www.tuscaloosayfc.org.  

     If someone is moved to help support my efforts in helping teen parents, they can email me at [email protected].  

     And, of course, we are always in need of baby items, volunteers, and prayers for these parents, our ministry efforts and staff, and our funding levels.  We are grateful for all of our supporters and partners, and we couldn't do this without their help!  

Share |