Home for unwed teen moms in financial trouble

Knoxville (WVLT) - There's a cry for help for financial contributions for a home that gives teenage mothers help after the baby is born.

It's the only place of it's kind, but without your help, the House of Courage won't be able to support teen mothers in need.

Danielle and Isabella enjoy a day at the park in this picture, but before the House of Courage, Danielle didn't enjoy much. At 18, Danielle lived in a shelter in Knoxville, but in March she became the first mother to graduate from the program that Bonnie Skolfield built.

"Now she's working full time in retail sales and she lives on her own in a one bedroom home and her little girl is in day care," Skolfield said.

The House of Courage takes in girls, often abused and stuck in a poverty situation, and gives them and their baby a home. The program offers parenting classes, social skills, and job skills.

"You don't want to repeat the cycle they want to change it just don't have the tools," Skolfield said.

Bonnie herself was a teenage mother so she can relate to the girls in the house.

"I was 15, so it was very scary not to know what responsibilities look like with a child," Skolfield said.

So they take the mothers under their wing, but House of Courage is in dire need of funds. They need $33,000 to get them through October.

"We will be back where we started and there will be no other place for these girls to go again," Skolfield said.

No other places for girls like Danielle and Isabella to go. A mother and daughter who with a little love and support are now leading self sufficient, successful lives.

They're not funded by the government, so they depend on people like you for donations. They can be sent to:

House of Courage
PO Box 4636
Maryville, TN 37802

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  • by Bonnie Location: Knoxville on Jul 25, 2008 at 07:00 PM
    Rachel, would love to see the book you wrote for pregnant teens. Please contact House of Courage on the above link. Thank you for sharing your story!
  • by Amazing Location: Knoxville on Jul 25, 2008 at 03:23 PM
    My other thoughts are, you are looking at the global issue & trying to put it off on the House of Courage for wanting to help what is presently at hand. The House's mission is to help educate these girls on making better decsions & not settling on what society thinks their lives are worth based on being a teen mom, but to face the hard times head on & realize the dreams they had before becoming teen moms. It takes counseling & guidance to get these girls to see how to make better decsions especially when they haven't had that from the homes they were raised in. So to help break the cycle & make a difference in future generations the house is not only helping them become productive members of society but giving them the tools to not let the same thing happen to their children. HOC's help to these girls can't be compared to state & government aid. HOC is trying to prevent that from being a lifestyle. There is nothing appealing about living on welfare and HOC doesn't glamorize it.
  • by Amazing Location: Knoxville on Jul 25, 2008 at 03:09 PM
    If you didn't want people to think you were condeming these girls then you should have used different language in your post. The House of Courage is helping them to become productive members of society. Majority don't get this "privilege" after their babies are born because they have no support base. Once a girl has a baby there is NOTHING easy to her life. Yes, they made the choice that landed them being a mom and for that they have to accept responsibility and work hard to over come the challenges that face them. However, you don't just turn your back on them at that point. If teen moms don't get the right support & guidance statistics show many will get pregnant again with 3yrs. If they aren't receiving support from their families then someone has to step up and try to help end the cycle. Each situation is different & before judgment is passed, knowing why they need help is essential. See next post for additional thoughts.
  • by Alice Location: tn on Jul 25, 2008 at 12:41 AM
    I do not condemn these girls and i do not consider them lowlife scum!!!AND in no way is it the babies fault for anything that happens. I just was saying if we did not make it so easy on those who make bad choices maybe fewer teens would become pregnant. The school mentality came from the article reads that they offer job skills, social skills, and parenting classes. All of which is available at school and you don't have to be a mom to get it.
  • by So sad Location: Louisville on Jul 24, 2008 at 07:08 PM
    It is so sad that people below want to focus on a problem, and not a solution. What do we tell the girls who need this kind of help NOW? "Too bad for you, you made a mistake now live off of welfare and deal with it?" I don't think so. The babies deserve every chance in life to have what your kids/grandkids have, a chance to be a productive member of society and break the generational curse of teen parenting, abusive relationships and welfare. I will pray for the viewers below that they can forgive as they were forgiven.
  • by Amazing Location: Knoxville on Jul 24, 2008 at 05:08 PM
    Alice everyone is entitled to their opinions. But I'm not following your school mentality. School does nothing for these girls. They don't change their cirriculum because they are teen moms.The true place they should be getting what this house provides is their parents and their homes but that isn't happening. The other thing is you are stereotyping these girls. Just because a girl gets pregnant doesn't mean she's some kind of scum of the earth low life. Many girls who get pregnant as teens have low self esteem and open themseleves up to sex in hopes of acceptance. No not smart I know.. but its the case. Don't lump all these girls in the "stupid and don't care" catagory. I know teen pregnancy is an epidemic and even though I support what HOC is doing I would love if we could end/lower the teen pregnancy rate. Until then I'm going to support helping these girls as God would not abandon them because of one decision. If he did we'd all be abandoned.
  • by Rachel Location: Florida on Jul 24, 2008 at 04:32 PM
    Teen Pregnancy is difficult. I had my son when I was 17 years old. What was more difficult than raising him while I was still in the process of growing up myself, was the blatant disregard for my difficulties. I looked up to adults and was expecting guidance and assistance. To my disappointment, I received a cold shoulder and a look of shame which deeply penetrated my (young and scared) heart. Well, that was 16 years ago, and a lot has changed since then but I feel an obligation to reach out to young moms of today and give them encouragement and support. I wrote a book especially for pregnant teens, honestly, they are desperate for hope. I hope that sharing this information with those of you, who read this posting, will help replace criticism with compassion. That is the only way to help them heal their breaking hearts.
  • by TeenMom89 Location: Knoxville on Jul 24, 2008 at 02:47 PM
    The state doesn't give dead beat dad money to a non-profit agency. Not only that just as the mother's of these babies can't count on them to actually pay it neither could the house if it were available to them. Sure wish your idea would work but unfortunately not....
  • by Alice Location: TN on Jul 24, 2008 at 12:58 PM
    Well, I guess I will get flamed for this one but... There is a place that can give teens the same advantages, and its free. Our tax dollars already pay for it. It's called school. Teens need to learn there are no free handouts, stay in school, get an education, and become a productive member of society, not a drain on society resources. If places would not make this type of life look so appealing with all the financial, educational, child care, food, living, and everything else, help maybe just maybe many of our teens would choose a different path.
  • by Why Location: Not on Jul 24, 2008 at 09:22 AM
    Why don't they get the money from all the dead beat dads who got those girls pregnant?


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