Sixteen-year-old Aiyana Rowe didn’t think that school mattered. She frequently cut class in middle school to hang out with friends and smoke pot. She started running away from home at age 12. For …
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Sixteen-year-old Aiyana Rowe didn’t think that school mattered. She frequently cut class in middle school to hang out with friends and smoke pot. She started running away from home at age 12.
For three years she battled drug addiction while living on the streets. When she got pregnant at 15, she didn’t know where to go.
“I was looking for something to change my life because I knew it wasn’t healthy,” Rowe said.
That’s when she learned about Hope House Colorado, an Arvada-based nonprofit that helps teen moms reach self-sufficiency.
Rowe gave birth to her daughter in May and moved into Hope House’s residential program in June. Now, she’s working on classes to earn her high school diploma, learning to drive and learning to parent.
“I’m learning how to be the best mother I can be since I never had a mother in my life,” Rowe said. “I don’t think I would have been able to do this without Hope House. I’m so thankful to find them because they are supporting me with everything. They brighten up your day and you know you’re not alone.”
Rowe is one of 227 teen moms in the Denver metro area that Hope House has served this year. That’s a number the organization plans to double when its larger resource center opens next year.
The 15,000 square foot building, which broke ground in January 2017, will allow Hope House to serve up to 450 teen moms and 650 children every year.
“The really fun thing about what we’re doing here is it’s not so much something brand new, as it is we get to grow what we’re already doing,” said Lisa Steven, founder and executive director of Hope House. “The one thing we will be able to do here that we can’t do at the current location is build community among the moms.”
On the morning of Nov. 28 project supporters gathered at the building site on Benton Street in Arvada to write blessings, scriptures and words of encouragement on the framing of the building.
“We want them to be surrounded by God’s love and our love and encouragement,” Steven said. “Even if they can’t see it, we want them to be surrounded by it when they are in the building.”
The project would not have been possible without a partnership with Meritage Homes Colorado and HomeAid Colorado. Together they procured over $1 million through in-kind donations of materials and labor.
“There’s no better cause we can be associated with,” said Rusty Crandall, division president for Meritage Homes Colorado. “There’s no one more vulnerable in our society than these young girls with children. It was an easy decision for us.”
The day marked what Crandall called a “huge milestone” in the project.
“There have been some bumps in the road, but to show off the framing, it really shows that the dream is coming true,” Crandall said.
The goal is for the building to be finished late spring or summer of 2019.
“We’re so proud to be involved in this kind of a project, but I think the true heroes of this are Lisa and her volunteers,” Crandall said. “They’re here everyday working with these girls. We get to do this one project and we’re honored to be part of it.”
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