Culpeper County Younglives held a “Mom Prom” on Thursday, May 16 at the Culpeper Presbyterian Church as a way to celebrate teen mothers and their growth.
YoungLives is a nationwide organization as a part of YoungLife, whose mission is to help adolescents grow in their faith. In particular, YoungLives helps pregnant teens and teen mothers strengthen their relationship with God. Thanks to YoungLives, teen mothers in Culpeper have the opportunity to meet with each other every Thursday to build relationships and learn about the Christian faith.
The current coordinator for Culpeper YoungLives is Amy Lukachick, who has participated in Culpeper YoungLives since its inception five years ago as a mentor. Lukachik is passionate about the organization and how it can have a positive impact on the young women.
“I think the impact is just that they have, even if it's just like that one face in their life that is positive and encouraging them and empowering them and supporting them and loving them no matter what” Lukachik said.
Lukachik also helped put together the Mom Prom that took place a few weeks ago. All of the participants of YoungLives in Culpeper were able to attend, including the pregnant teens and teen mothers, their kids, and the mentors in the program. At the Mom Prom, they were all able to dance, laugh, and have fun. According to Lukachik, the Mom Prom gave teen mothers and their children the opportunity to make memories together.
“I wanted part of the Mom Prom to be just them making memories with their little ones. And little ones making memories with their moms,” Lukachik said. She also talked about how the prom allowed the women to celebrate the teen mothers, especially the ones who were graduating.
“Then the other part of Mom Prom I wanted to just recognize them,” she said, “recognizing just just how much they've grown in just the year we've been together with them.”
The Mom Prom is only one example of the fun activities that YoungLives organizes for the mothers. Every Thursday throughout the year, the teen moms gather to play different games.
One mother and member of YoungLives, Cynthia Gomez, a recent graduate from Eastern View High School, talked about how much she likes these weekly meetings and activities. In fact, one of her favorite memories was pieing Lukachik and another YoungLives leader in the face. Gomez also talked about her experience at the Mom Prom.
Although she did not attend her high school prom, she enjoyed the Mom Prom and spoke highly of the dance. She said she was able to have fun especially because her child, Emily, was there with her.
“It was fun that she was she got to be there and she got to dance,” Gomez said.
Going to the Mom Prom - and YoungLives club nights in general - was also a special experience for Gomez because she rarely goes out, again because she takes care of her child.
“I usually don't go out so this was fun for me to go out for the first time and party and have fun with my friends,” said Gomez.
Other aspects that make YoungLives unique were present at the Mom Prom. Lukachick says that YoungLives stresses the importance of self love, and to highlight that at the Mom Prom, the teens were given tiaras to wear.
“I talked about how they're all daughters of the king, so they're all valuable and they have so much worth in themselves and that they have a purpose that not just to look nice for guys or to impress other people but there's, you know, so much more to them,” Lukachik said.
Despite the success of the Mom Prom, it is uncertain whether there will be another one next year. “I think we could do some type of, maybe not a Mom Prom every year, but some type of - just some type of celebration to surprise the teen moms,” Lukachik said.
Nevertheless, the Mom Prom left an impact that is not left unseen, and it is clear that YoungLives will continue to touch the lives of teen mothers in Culpeper.