Hope's journey with The Lovelady Center began seven years ago when she first came for recovery. Over the years, she has come to the Center several times, each time leaving due to relapse. "For years, I've gone to extensive measures to find something to fill the void that I have lived with my entire life."
In September of 2021, Hope was at her lowest point. Unfortunately, COVID precautions prevented her from entering the program immediately, and considering her history of rule breaking at the Center, she had to wait until the scheduled intake day, which included quarantine measures and testing.
"I wasn't leaving. The only people I had left who loved me were in that building. So, I spent that night on the wheelchair ramp right outside the doors that night," Hope tells us. "The next day, they called an ambulance and I went to the hospital. A nurse asked, 'how long have you known you are pregnant'?" That's when it clicked. When I was released from the hospital, I was allowed to enter the program again.
"My daughter is great motivation and a great gift from God but there is nothing that has done this except Jesus." Hope returned to the Center in October 2021 and had her baby while staying here. "Others see my daughter and think that she is the result of a drug deal I couldn't pay for, but I know she is a blessing from God." Hope had heard throughout her countless stays at the Lovelady that God's love is unconditional and that she is a daughter of the King. "I heard it but I never understood. Then I had my daughter. That is when I realized what unconditional love actually means."
Hope and her daughter will remain at the Center while she works toward her career dreams. "My dream actually has always been to be a police officer." She hopes to be able to enter the police academy in the Fall of 2023. "Honestly, that's what I want, but I'm open to what God has for me and my daughter!"
The biggest lesson Hope has learned on this journey? "The second you surrender, God will fight for you. His strength is so much better than our strength."
THE LITTLEST AMONG US: CARING FOR THE CHILDREN AT THE CENTER
The reality of caring for women in their distress is that many times there are children to consider as well. While not every woman who comes to The Lovelady Center has children, many do.
As of December 6th, 102 children reside at the Center alongside their mothers. Infants, toddlers and school-aged children are woven deep into the fabric of the center and we holistically provide for them:
Our KidZone is a safe, early learning center for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
We partner with Miracle Academy, a K-5th grade private Christian school where our children attend classes.
Our after-school program, Freedom Reign, provides after school tutoring for our children.
Our medical and dental clinics work with our moms to help them provide healthcare to the children.
We provide outings and experiences for these precious children, and a safe environment so their mothers can complete their program with the knowledge that their child is cared for.
We provide anything needed for the child during their stay (diapers, wipes, any formula needed beyond what is covered by WIC, medicine, clothing, hygiene items, etc.)
In 2022 alone, 31 babies have been born at The Lovelady Center. From prenatal appointments, late night visits to labor and delivery, to postpartum care and parenting classes, these new mothers are cared for, provided for and loved.
OPPORTUNITIES TO INVEST IN THE LOVELADY CENTER
Investment of Time
“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” -Ephesians 2:10
Come alongside the Lovelady Center and serve our residents: Volunteer
Investment of Resources
Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of sacrifice—that take place in the kitchen and in the workplace and on the streets. -Hebrews 13:16 (MSG)
Because of God’s goodness, we are able to sustain 70% of our budget through earned revenue generated by our Lovelady Thrift Stores and other sources. Thirty percent of our budget comes from donors and grants to our mission!
$3000 provides services for one Lovelady for an entire year
$250 provides services for a month
$60 provides services for a week
Investment of Social Capital
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
As the saying goes, be a friend, make a friend, bring a friend to Lovelady! Each of us have friends and colleagues who may resonate with the work at The Lovelady Center. We offer monthly opportunities for you to come and bring a friend or four to learn more about and to see the Center.
Your program looks like a wonderful opportunity for women in dire straights. If a woman in your program has loving, supportive family in another part of the country, is she free to remain in contact with them as she goes through your program?