Grand Rapids center for teen moms unveils child play area expansion

Posted at 10:43 PM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 22:43:10-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- There were tears for joy from some mothers after a new addition to Grace's Table in Grand Rapids.

Grace's Table has been assisting teen moms and their kids for the last 3 years, and is now adding a 1,000 square foot play room.

The 'Room to Grow' expansion project started a year ago and had its grand opening on Thursday.

"'Room to Grow' is so while moms are learning life skills courses or meeting with their mentors, kids have a safe place to hang out and to play," said Executive Director Lisa Anderson.

Anderson was also a teen mom, and says that experience made her want to help others like her.

"When I was 17 and pregnant, had my son when I was 18, and that was a little bit of a struggle," she said.

Her efforts for the past three years helped make her our Pay It Forward Person of the Month in March 2017.

"They make you feel so welcome, like the minute you walk in the door they welcome you with a hug and a smile no matter who you are, if you're brand new or been going here for years" said Rebecca Willis, a teen mother who uses Grace's Table's services.

The new 'Room to Grow' is filled with all sorts of toys and games to keep kids occupied and give their mothers peace of mind.

Last year, Grace's Table served 112 moms and kids, and with the new play room they plan to serve even more.

"I’m so excited," said Grace's Table mentor Joni Cook. "There’s times when we’d be meeting upstairs and trying to have an intense conversation with the moms and kids were going crazy literally like 5 feet away."

There is also a new washer and dryer to help mothers save money when doing laundry.  People at the center say it feels like living with one big happy family, and that's just how they want it.

Anderson says the next step is to expand their reach so they can help more teen moms. They are a nonprofit and rely on donations.  You can learn more about the center on their website.