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Several teenage mothers — some with their babies, some expecting — pose during a Randolph County YoungLives activity. The local organization serves women between ages 11-20 adjust to the life and challenges that lie ahead for teenage moms.

YoungLives organization helps local teen mothers

ASHEBORO — Teenage mothers and their babies will benefit from an event called Bunco for Babies.


Sponsored by Randolph County YoungLives, Tea Time Bunco for Babies is a way to raise money for a program that serves young moms. 


The fund-raiser will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 3, at Journey Church, 1801 S. Fayetteville St., Asheboro. 


The public is invited to “bring your family and friends to enjoy a night of desserts, Bunco, games, prizes, and laughs, all benefitting teen moms and their babies here in Randolph County.”


Bunco is a game played with dice. A table of four reserved in advance is $100 or $125 at the door. For more details, call 336-301-0890.


Heather Voncannon, Randolph County YoungLives coordinator, said her organization serves young women between the ages of 11-20, with most around 16. “We’ve had referrals as young as 13,” she said.


A few pregnant teens get married, Voncannon said, but those unions don’t usually last. “Some of the dads, though, are stepping up and meeting with them.”


Girls who get pregnant during their teenage years need a support system, Voncannon said.


“These moms are super brave and we’re rallying around them,” she said. “They’re very strong but they need extra help. It’s a hard road but some graduate early and some go on to get their college degrees.”


Statistics show that, nationwide, about 50 percent of unwed teens drop out of school. But those involved with YoungLives graduate at the rate of 72 percent.


“We meet weekly, provide meals, childcare, mentoring, etc.,”Voncannon said. “We have over 100 teenagers becoming mothers every year here just in our county alone! The changes we see in our girls are making generational impacts.”


During those weekly meetings at First Assembly in Asheboro, she said, meals are provided by churches, civic organizations and families. 


“We eat together, talk and catch up,” Voncannon said. “Childcare volunteers babysit while the moms play silly games, sing songs and hear the gospel. They have other activities during the month, including professional photos.”


YoungLives meets with moms at all the county high schools, with some coming from High Point and Greensboro. That big of a group requires a large team of mentors and volunteers.


“We’re always looking for more (helpers),” Voncannon said. “We try to meet with the moms at other times as well.”


YoungLives has committees for planning fund-raising, events such as speakers and meal donations. 


“We have about 20-25 moms weekly with another 12 or so moms meeting at other times because of work schedules,” Voncannon said. 


Besides the weekly meetings, YoungLives offers special outings during the year.


“We take them to a camp in the mountains, with strollers and childcare and activities such as ziplines, things teenagers love.


“The main thing is their introduction to Christ,” Voncannon said. “We want to prepare them for life and give them confidence for the road ahead.


“We want to make sure they know they have a team behind them so they can be the mom they want to be.”


Voncannon said one of their moms later became a phlebotomist and eventually bought her own home and goes to church. Some girls get their GED despite the odds against them.


Some of those who have “graduated” from the program often come to the meetings to let the current girls know that their future can be bright.


One young mom, Voncannon said, after being told “You can be this,” said, “No one ever said that to me.”


“They can speak the same to their children,” Voncannon said. “It’s a generational change. We have all kinds of moms, socially and racially. They see they’re not alone.”