Former teen mum uses the organization to help others deal with unexpected pregnancies

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A community organization can make a major difference in someone’s life by changing federal law and increasing surveillance surrounding unplanned pregnancies.

One group in Grand Rapids is doing just that, which is why Lakeshia Gilbert of HOAP, Inc. was named our Pay It Forward Person of the Month, sponsored by the Lake Michigan Credit Union.

“So just going through the shame journey, getting people to label you, dealing with stereotyping, stereotypical judgments and mindsets from individuals who don’t even know you,” Gilbert explained. at FOX 17.

Gilbert hopes to solve these problems through his organization, HOAP, Inc.

HOAP stands for Helping Our Teens Thrive. It offers educational workshops focused on healthy relationships, financial literacy and mental health.

It also provides at-risk youth with basic essentials like toiletries, nappies and wipes, as well as transportation.

Gilbert knows the difficulties because she too was a teenage mother.

“God has allowed me to prosper along this journey so that I can go back and help others who are on the same path,” Gilbert said.

She hopes to pass on that same success to other moms who might not have the same support.

“She deserved it. She deserves so much. What you give is what you get,” said Cindy Vargas, a mom ambassador.

“Keisha is a blessing to mothers here. Not just the mothers, but the teams,” added volunteer Lakesha Jackson.

Gilbert says the money will go directly to the organization to help provide more of these essentials.

“We are good soil to sow a seed because we return it throughout the harvest that we harvest for our young mothers and their children, as well as for our young people and our teenagers, so I’m just excited because that means just that now we continue to be a blessing to them,” Gilbert added.

If you know someone who should be our next Pay It Forward Person of the Month, you can nominate them here.

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