When a teenager finds herself pregnant with no place to go, Living Grace Home opens its arms to offer support and resources.
The nonprofit recently unveiled its newest home in Henderson — the location is not revealed for protection — to provide a longer period of care for those in need.
“Some of the girls don’t have family,” said Kathleen Miller, the founder and executive director of Living Grace Home. “They come here to find support.”
The new phase is expected to start admitting girls in March. They can stay in the program up to 22 months, a little extra time to get back on their feet.
“They don’t have to stay the full time,” Miller said. “You don’t have to go through phase one to qualify for phase two. Girls (from the first phase) are selected on a case-by-case scenario.”
The program has come a long way.
At the time Miller was looking to open Living Grace Home, she said there weren’t any other programs in the Henderson area helping pregnant teens.
But with Nevada being one of the top spots nationally for teenage pregnancy — it ranks fourth — Miller said resources were needed.
She worked with the city of Henderson to open her first home in 2007.
When the program began, it helped girls, many of whom came from broken families or the streets, during the actual pregnancy. The age range is 14 to 22, but the average age is 17.
In order to be admitted to the house, girls are required to be in school or working or volunteering at least 24 hours per week.
Once residents have given birth, they can remain at the facility for 90 days before transitioning back with family or into their own house.
About a third go back to family after their baby is born.
Miller said the organization works to help the relationship between family members if possible.
It was seven years ago when Sarah Holloway walked through the doors of Living Grace Home.
After her dad, whom she was living with, was sent to prison, she had nowhere else to turn when she became pregnant.
“I had a rocky relationship with my family,” she said. “(Living Grace Home) became my family.”
Holloway remembers being turned off by some of the guidelines.
“They said you either had to be working, in school or both,” Holloway said. “I remember saying I would work. I figured I was going to be the only one supporting the baby, so I should work and not go to school.”
But Living Grace Home encouraged her to return to school.
“So I graduated with my cap and gown, pregnant and all,” she said.
Looking back, she knows those stipulations were for the best, and she owes the nonprofit a debt of gratitude for pushing her to pursue school.
“I think the program helped me grow up,” she said.
She is now in college.
Holloway still does counseling at the house. She comes back occasionally to talk with some of the new girls.
She recently joined an alumni advisory panel at Living Grace Home, which is composed of former members who can provide feedback on services.
Holloway took a tour through the new house before it was unveiled.
“I wish I would have had this seven years ago,” she said.
The organization secured the property in November 2012. However, because it was a short sale, it didn’t get the keys to the house until October 2013.
From there it went through three months of construction getting the house up to code and making adjustments to the living quarters, which included added office space in the garage for the house staff members.
Miller is far from done with seeing with plans for Living Grace Home to expand. She still has thoughts for a phase three.
Phase three would be an apartment complex with administrative offices, child care services, classrooms, a community area and single apartments for the girls.
Living Grace Home is still seeking donations to help current and new residents, which includes clothes for the mothers, baby gear, monetary donations and a house van to provide transportation.
For more information, visit livinggracehome.com.