CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Ten-month-old Baby King roams the halls of Lifeline Family Center. He peeks around each corner, and smiles when he sees a familiar face.
Those familiar faces are staff, volunteers, and other residents of King’s home at Lifeline. His mom, Alnisa Hogland, is a participant in the program. She tells FOX 4 that though she lives here and receives support around the clock, this organization is all about making sure young women know how to navigate adulthood by the time they leave.
“If you come here for a handout, you’re not gonna really leave with anything,” Hogland says.
The Cape Coral non-profit has been serving young moms since 1996. Their outreach ministry seeks to help girls make informed decisions about their pregnancy and motherhood, describing it as “hope even after an unplanned pregnancy.”
On site, participants receive job training, parenting classes and educational support. They also sharpen practical skills including cooking, cleaning, and laundry. They practice for the real world by paying “bills” with “Lifeline Bucks”. Those are “dollars” they earn through participating in daily classes and chores.
Cindy Evans works as a house parent at the center, alongside her husband. She says these methods help prepare the participants to live on their own.
“We’re teaching them real life skills,” Evans says.
Though they’ve served over 200 women through their on-site facility, they’re creating new ways to serve participants.
On Thursday, local leaders joined Lifeline supporters for a groundbreaking of four new apartments on their campus. Currently, the girls live in individual rooms. Once they complete Phase I of the program, participants will move into the new complex which provides “apartment-style” living on site.
Here, they will practice paying real bills and managing a household - all while knowing support is just footsteps away.
Cindy tells FOX 4 the new facilities will help to gradually ease participants into full-time, responsible adulthood.
“It’s right here. It’s still familiar. Still comfortable to them, and if they need help…we’re right here before they transition out into a house where it’s even more money.”
Alnisa’s mom signed her up for the program when she first learned her daughter was pregnant. She says the support she received at Lifeline helps her to becomes a better individual, mother, and leader. But, she said, she quickly learned that a desire to transform your life and your child’s life is a requirement.
“It’s a good environment, but you have to want it. You have to come with the right mindset.”
In addition to on-site services, Lifeline Family Center provide pregnancy help, pregnancy testing, adoption counseling and free ultrasounds. For more information, click here.