Jessica Pauta was 15 when she learned she was pregnant.
“It was a hard during that time because I wasn’t sure exactly how my life was going to go on. I felt like I was by myself, and it was just so much responsibility,” she said. “I was unsure, and I felt unloved - like I did something really wrong. I had many people say, ‘why did you mess up your life?’”
She never encountered that sentiment at Jericho Partnership. It was the staff at Jericho’s Hopeline Pregnancy Resource Center – where Jessica went to confirm her pregnancy – who suggested she attend YoungLives, another Jericho program that serves teenage and young moms by helping them navigate motherhood.
Pushing against her own fear to share her challenges with “strangers,” Jessica went. And has never looked back.
“Coming here made me feel loved,” said Jessica at a recent YoungLives gathering. “It made me feel like I DO have somebody who will support me – and that is God.” She said she also received immeasurable support from her mentor, Jill Collins.
Jessica, whose son Angel is now two-years-old, says she welcomed God into her life at the second YoungLives camp she attended. “They helped me get there,” she said about how her mentors guided her in her growing faith and helped transform her life.
“I just felt safe there; I felt comfort,” she said. “I felt like I was doing something good for myself... I’m still attending now, years later. YoungLives makes me feel confident in myself and believe in myself and know that everything is going to be OK.”