Destiny's House: A Dream Fulfilled

Destiny's House has been a long-time dream of Thana Simmons. She envisions it as a place where pregnant teenagers can find shelter and support.

"We are going to offer that circle of support that's needed in order for them to take the next steps in life so that they can succeed and their children can succeed in life," said Simmons.  

She was once a pregnant teen herself, and remembers how difficult it was to figure out what to do.

"Nobody told me to go ahead and finish school and get my degree because in the end, I would need it to excel in life," she said.

Simmons plans to renovate a former church in Dallas and turn it into Destiny's House, a residential home for teen mothers-to-be, where they can find refuge, continue their educations, and learn to care for their children.

It's an idea already being practiced successfully in Dallas.

"There's a huge need," said Harriet Boorham, director of Promise House. "We constantly have a waiting list here at Wesley Inn. We also have 15 apartments out in the community that is part of this program, and they stay full."

The Wesley Inn program of Promise House is a group rsidence for homeless teen mothers and their children. According to the website, it helps 14- through 20-year-old homeless and pregnant and parenting teen mothers become healthy, independent and nurturing parents. Residents may stay in the program for up to two years and are encouraged to stay at least 90 days.

The pregnant teens who find their way here are often runaways, or have been abandoned by their boyfriends or kicked out of their homes.

"We teach them how to be parents," Boorham said. "I mean, they are responsible for being in school or working or both, part time -- they have to get up very early in the morning, get their kids to day care, get on the bus, go wherever they're going to go."

It's a taste of real life, supplemented by intense counseling, parenting classes, and healthcare.

"For someone who may be pregnant, out on the street, has nowhere to go, no one to go to, I think it's good," said one teen resident. "Because you actually have someone there who wants to help you."

The director of Promise House says there are plenty of teenagers in North Texas, and across the state, who can benefit from places like these.

"Trust me, I mean, this is really corny-sounding, but when we built it, they came and it will happen again," she said. "Teenage pregnancy is not going away anytime soon."

As Thana Simmons prepares to open her own haven for young mothers, she hopes they will seek her out for help, too.

"We'll teach them self-esteem so that they know and understand that they're beautiful with and without a man, with or without a child."

 Contact Info:

Destiny's House
P O Box 863422
Plano, TX 75086-3422

Promise House
224 W. Page Ave. 
Dallas, Texas 75208

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