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Local program helping young moms & their children gain independence

Children don't need perfection, just parents who are trying their best. In Communities that KARE, a Chaska-based program is helping young moms reach their goals.

CHASKA, Minn. — Beyond New Beginnings is built to be a pillar of support to lift young moms. 

"They know that there are people behind them who want them to be successful, people who really care about them," said co-founder Jill Engeswick. 

She co-founded the program in 2019 after working at New Beginnings High School, which serves pregnant and parenting teens. 

"We always felt there was a certain segment of our population that needed more than just finishing high school in order to be successful, independent, contributing members of our society," Engeswick said. 

Beyond New Beginnings is unique, providing affordable housing for young moms and their children. 

"There are four two-bedroom apartments, plus a common area with a kitchen and a bathroom, and can have large groups and have family activities and dinners and so forth," explained Engeswick. 

The women and their children sit down for a community meal each Monday night. Then it's off to class. 

"We talk about things like self-care, budgeting, nutrition, and planning for the future," said Engeswick. "All of those basic kinds of things you need to know to live on your own, plus just support around how hard it is to be a mom on your own." 

The women learn by example. One of their coaches, Janae Vogel, was once in their position. 

"This is a big deal to me," Vogel said. "I was a teen mom myself."

Vogel is a mom of six with even more room in her heart for her mentees. 

"One of the things I remember as a teen mom myself, I remember everyone telling me how I ruined my life, and you know, you're going to live in poverty the rest of your life," she said. "Just to be able to have the opportunity for these moms to see someone who didn't fail is, I think, huge for them." 

Beyond New Beginnings is supported mainly through community donations and volunteers who do everything from watching the children to providing specialized classes. 

"Personal safety, internet safety; we're going to do something about maintaining a car. Those sort of extra things they need to also know," said Engeswick. "Our kind of philosophy is we're here to lift up, walk alongside. We're not telling you what to do, but we want to help you get where you want to go."

Beyond New Beginnings serves Carver County and plans to expand into Scott County with the hope of serving up to 20 families by 2025. 

Check out this link to learn more about the program and how to donate.

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