When Lisa Anderson was 17 she became pregnant, and her life changed forever. As a young mom, she often felt alone and isolated. Lisa started Grace's Table to support young women as they embark on their own motherhood journey. Grace's Table represents safety and stability, in the midst of uncertainty.
By day, Lisa is the Assistant Vice President, Credit Support Associate II, Wholesale Credit Administration at Bank of America Merrill Lynch; by night, she is a mentor, shoulder to lean on, teacher and friend. Lisa knows firsthand what these young women need—namely, someone to count on. She knows without a support network, loneliness and isolation seep in, and depression and anxiety grow.
In 2013, Lisa began opening her home—and dinner table—to teen moms. To date, close to 100 young mothers have walked through her door. On any given Friday night, there can be between eight and 22 young mom's in Lisa's home. Some women heard about Grace's Table from friends; some were referred by counseling or social service agencies. No matter how they got there, all are welcomed with open arms.
In addition to a warm meal, Grace's Table offers young mothers weekly group mentoring, one-on-one mentoring, childcare, rides and more. Lisa says childcare is key, as its availability allows the moms to complete their studies and to work.
During Friday night group mentoring sessions, the mothers talk to the volunteers about life in general, ask questions about childrearing, share parenting ideas with each other, discuss nutrition—no topic is off limits! Most important, these mothers never leave the table without identifying a positive aspect of their week. Lisa believes it is important to step outside life's daily stress. The organization's one-on-one mentoring sessions are held in mentor's homes. It is in these homes that many important, trusting relationships are formed.
Lisa emphasizes the important role Bank of America has played in her journey. "The bank places high value on volunteerism and community involvement. They encourage my passion."
Being a mother is overwhelming, no matter your age. Organizations such as Grace's Table provide help for young mothers who are striving to be the very best mom they can be!
Click here to learn more about how this organization is helping young mothers in our community.
Written by Lisa Stickler, staff writer for West Michigan Woman magazine.