Author: LaChanda Mills, Health Educator in SPCC’s Teenage Parent Support Services Program (TAPSS)
Parents of our TAPSS Parent Coalition are still radiating with pride after completing a community service project in February. Some 40+ persons at The House of Mercy’s Sanctuary Village received care packages for their Valentine’s Day from SPCC’s parent coalition.
As Valentine’s Day honors couples and loved ones, the parents of the coalition wanted to remind homeless people that they too are loved and celebrated on this day. Many members of the coalition are able to empathize with residents of the shelter and wanted to give their personal touch by adding some of their favorite messages and quotes. Attached with the Kandee John quote, “you are more beautiful than you know, more talented than you think, and more loved than you can imagine”, the parents assembled over 40 care packages in heart-shaped gift bags for the shelter.
After developing a plan to deliver the packages before holiday season, the coalition team leaders went to The House of Mercy’s Main site located at 725 Hudson Ave to deliver the supplies. To their excitement they were met by Sister Grace Miller, founder of the House of Mercy.
“I was so nervous and excited to meet her. She kept thanking us and it made me want to cry. It made me feel so good knowing I could help someone out when they needed it.” Exclaimed one of the parent leaders.
Sister Grace Miller opened The House of Mercy in 1985 which services over 5,000 people monthly. In January 2015 the new shelter was donated, holding up to 50 people. This new shelter, the new Sanctuary Village is supplies with mattresses, a heater and more importantly, a roof.
The teen parent coalition was formed in October 2014 to serve as a means to build leadership and empower parents. Though service learning, the parents have been able to give back to the community and create a safe space for them to be teens and develop into self-sufficient adults. “This group is my family”, said another one of the parent leaders. The members support each other in and outside of the group and are always excited to see what they can get into next.
As members brainstorm new ways to give back they are determined to change how teen parents are perceived in the community. They know this will not be an easy task, but this is one they are willing to try.