A conversation on the challenges of being a single parent

Joshua Meribole—Staff Writer

On Tuesday, the junior Social Work class had three speakers talk about helping pregnant teenagers and making pro-life choices.

The room filled to a point where the coordinator had to open the divider that splits the CL1148 classroom. Nursing majors as well as Social Work majors listened carefully as two documentaries and each speaker talked about how to help teenagers who are pregnant. The social work students explained that the discussion was prompted by several states ruling to extend the period in which abortion is allowed.

Invited speakers included Shanae Klaassen and Alyssa Blankespoor, who both worked for Alpha Center; Ashley Van Engen, an adoptive mom; and Kelley Reyes from Community Health Resources.

“As Christians, we are called to love people who don’t think and look like us,” Klaassen said. She talked about her work with Alpha Center and the support they provide to women who are about to give birth or have already given birth.

Beginning with a documentary about teen pregnancy, the event showed the difficulty a teenager faces when she is pregnant and the community help she desperately needs. This video set the groundwork for the rest of the night’s discussion.

Klaassen went on to say that we need to be engaged with single parents and not let them be by themselves. She also said her organization is focused on the well-being of both an unborn or already-born child and the mother. She said that the Alpha Center offers help to women who have had an abortion.

She also talked about single parents’ struggle to provide for their children, as things like diapers can be expensive. She said she doesn’t want them to feel like they have to choose abortion.

Reyes, talking about her walk with Community Health Resources in Orange City, said we must learn not to judge or look down on single parents.

Van Engen talked about the reality of adoption, as she has two adopted kids. She talked about the waiting game and the occasional unpredictability in child adoption. She also mentioned mothers who give up their child out of love and a hope that the child will have a better life.

“They left the hospital with nothing, and their story doesn’t end there,” Van Engen said

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