June 24, 2016

Saginaw Teen MOPS

Mentoring support group established for teen moms

TeenMOPS-blog-photoRegardless of age or experience, being a mother is demanding with unlimited challenges. These demands are magnified for teen mothers who face challenges such as security quality, reliable childcare; completing educational milestones; trying to overcome difficult living arrangements with stressed family relationships; along with other issues like loneliness, social isolation, body image, and insecurity in their new role as a parent.


Among teens aged 15-19 in Saginaw County, teen pregnancy rates trended 10-15% above state averages and 25% above national averages between 2009-11.



Here in Saginaw, teen moms did not have a support group geared specifically for them to turn for help. To meet this need, Saginaw Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) was established. 


Saginaw Teen MOPS, the only such program in the region, hosts its meetings at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Weiss St., in Saginaw. 


The program provides a supportive, nonjudgmental faith-based environment where teen moms can come together for mentoring and encouragement. The teaching, activities and friendships are all focused on the very distinct needs of teenagers, benefiting all young mothers under 23 years of age, who are pregnant or have a child under age 5.


Teen-MOPS-blog-grant-amount“These young women have had a lot of people give up on them,” said Sarah Laux, Saginaw Teen MOPS co-director. “Here, these young women are supported by a variety of mentors in a comfortable setting with peers facing the same challenges. We’re here to help them.”


The group meets every other Monday with a goal of creating and building healthy relationships. 


“We hope that these new relationships will stay with these young moms throughout their lives,” said Sarah.


Young moms are finding a place where they fit-in with mentors and friends who understand what they are going through. A place where their own value and their child’s value is celebrated. Each meeting consists of a theme or topic, a goal, and a combination of speaker, creative activity, and discussion.


Speakers educate moms on topics like: pregnancy prevention, cooking, resumé building, domestic violence, education, employment, and child development.


“At every meeting, each mom receives a small bundle of diapers, pack of baby wipes, hand sanitizer or other personal item. We also have a MOPS Swap Table which has gently-used baby clothing and other items. At the end of our meeting, the moms participate in ‘Tell Me Something Good’ where they share positive news from the previous two weeks. We also have a drawing for gift cards.”


Dinner is provided at the meetings for both mother and child and free childcare is offered. This eliminates lack of childcare from preventing a teen mom from attending a meeting, and provides a meal for some that may have gone without.


Making a Difference

In the short time Saginaw Teen MOPS has been active, the program is proving successful, and a grant from Saginaw Community Foundation helped kickstart the program.


“Our numbers have been steadily growing each meeting,” said Sarah. “Friends are bringing friends. Moms are really becoming engaged in the program. They are coming early and staying late.”


“The grant from SCF helped us to legitimize what we are doing,” added Sarah. “It is truly for the community – that’s who we are serving. We know we are making a difference in the lives of these young women.”


Learn more

Visit the Saginaw Teen MOPS website.

Download a PDF of Community Threads – Saginaw Community Foundation 2015 Annual Report