This week for group night we welcomed Chris, an RN who is also a licensed nutritionist. She showed us the importance of paying attention to what we eat. It is possible to be at the right weight without medications and just by eating a healthy, balanced diet. At fifty-six, Chris is the same weight as she was when she was thirty-six and had her last child. Your body is a gift from God and we must be good stewards for the gifts he has given us.
Nutrition is important because we need to have energy to do daily tasks. We need to maintain a healthy body weight and it also lowers the risk of health problems such as heart disease. A few easy things to start doing are to watch portion sizes and eats lots of foods that are dark green, red, and orange. Look on the packaging before eating any food because portion sizes are often smaller than they seem.
What is exactly is stress? Stress is a chemical reaction in response to a negative reaction. It’s your body telling you that it doesn’t want to get hurt. This isn’t always bad; it helps keep you safe. However, too much stress can get you stuck in a negative state of being. When people are over-stressed, they typically worry too much about silly things or become desensitized to problem areas in their lives.
What are symptoms of being too stressed?
Stress has many symptoms and here are a few: increased heart rate, feeling lousy, feeling overwhelmed, forgetting things, loss of focus, and high blood pressure. Being stressed is much worse for pregnant mothers because the baby feels everything that his or her mother feels.
How do I deal with stress?
A big part of dealing with stress is recognizing it so you can plan for before, during, and after the fact. Many people only recognize what stress made them do after-the-fact. When you feel like you’re overstressed, give yourself a moment. Realize you’re having a rough time and get a fresh start. There are many simple ways to help relieve stress: write in journals, take a walk, bathe, color, listen or sing to music, pamper yourself, use a stress ball or something similar, read, take a nap, make lists, or exercise. Be proactive. When you’re really engaged it’s hard to think about all the extra stuff. Crying may not be a bad thing because it makes you feel better afterwards. It’s easier to spiral than to stay at a bottom. Everybody’s life is different. Everything has different meanings to different people. Hold yourself accountable by doing activities with others, such as working out. Get to a place where you can even compromise. Somethings will come with time. Take care of yourself.
Mind full vs. Mindful
Mindfulness is doing actions with purpose. Your mind is sometimes so cluttered that you don’t realize what you’re doing and live life on autopilot. You’re too busy thinking about the next thing that you neglect what you’re doing in the now. Focus on your breathing two minutes a day. Clear your mind. Learn awareness, self-acceptance, and letting things go. Set apps with reminders to force you to pause throughout the day. Close your eyes and take very deep breaths. Be aware of the noises around you. Open your eyes and say five things you can see, five you can hear, five you can touch, and try to find five things to taste and smell. Be at peace. Accept things the way they are.
How to prevent stress
Find things that are important to you and make time. Say no to a new responsibility when you need to. Make sure to make yourself laugh every once in a while. Seek out that person who always puts a smile on your face or re-watch your favorite comedy. Intentionally build things into your day to brighten it up. Make your own day. Take long breaths—quickly count 1,2,3,4. Be aware of the right now and intentionally focus on what’s around you. If you need further help with your stress, many hospitals offer courses. A stress-free you is the best you!
As I child, I understood the concept of respect but didn’t know the actual word for word meaning. I thought that everybody understood what respect meant but, since working at New Beginnings, I realize how wrong I was! Some of the mothers who come into New Beginnings, view respect as, “You aren’t giving me what I want, and therefore, you are not respecting me!” My favorite false idea of respect is “I will respect you as long as you respect me and do as I want.” The two play hand in hand. I then realized just how blessed I was to have the strong Christian upbringing that I had along with the guidance of my parents who taught me to respect others.
So, what is respect? In the dictionary it has a few different meanings but I found two that really seem to nail down the definition.
This is the love and respect we give the mothers who come to us looking for a new beginning. We strive to help them accomplish their goals and grow closer to God through His Word. We help teach them what God has to say about respect for not only others but for themselves. I quickly found out that not everybody grew up being respected by others and therefore don’t know how to respect themselves as an adult. Through daily instruction in God’s Word, we learn together the love that He has for us, and how He sent His Son to die for us. What a blessed message to share with the mothers and their little ones!
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them.
– Luke 1:6
One other way your donation dollars create real, long-term change is by allowing mothers to go back to school. Mothers who get an education can get well-paying jobs to support themselves and their children. This ultimately stops the cycle of poverty and government assistance use. Many of our moms start off by working toward earning their GED which is necessary for college and most job opportunities. If they’ve already obtained a high school diploma, they’re able to start college right away to work toward a degree that will allow them to achieve self-sufficiency. Our moms have dreams like becoming an accountant, opening up their own non-profit, becoming a nurse, and more. By donating to New Beginnings, you empower our moms to work hard and make their dreams come true.
THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to or supported New Beginnings in some way. You are making a true difference in the lives of the mothers and babies who come into our program.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 (NIV)
Taleya Williamson is the Operations Manager at New Beginnings. She was born and raised in Puyallup, Washington and attended Evergreen Lutheran High School. Taleya recently graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with a Bachelors of Science in psychology with a minor in anthropology. In her free time, Taleya enjoys spending time with her husband, David.
There are many reasons why single mothers aren’t able to finish their high school and college degrees. Life is not easy, and life is especially not easy for someone who is trying to work and support a child singlehandedly. The mothers that come to our home have not had the easiest time making ends meet while raising kids on their own, so we applaud them for their strength, resilience and desire to make good lives for themselves and their children.
To live sustainably in Milwaukee, a mother needs to make at least $50,000 a year, and that is very unlikely without a college degree. We want our mothers to have a chance at a full life, so we help them get on their feet, so they can become the independent mothers that they desire to be.
Our system works well because our mothers are able to go to class and study while free daycare services are looking after their children, and they can still come home to a warm, supportive environment after their days of classes. Furthermore, when children grow up in families of higher education, they are more likely to seek out education in the future as well. This means that when we are educating single mothers who have lived in generational poverty, we are also doing our part to snuff out generational poverty in and of itself.
The important thing is to recognize that each mother is unique and brings her own set of skills. We want to help each mother further the skillset that she has so that she can go out into the world and live life to the full.
- Chloe Harbach
Ms. Harbach is a student from Wisconsin Lutheran College who is working with a team of students to put together public relations materials for New Beginnings – A Home for Mothers.
1. You Get to Choose What You Want to Do.
If there’s a word to describe the volunteer positions you can fill at New Beginnings, it’s variety. You can watch the home during times when regular staff isn’t there as a Home Assistant, help set up fundraisers as a Church Liaison, form a close personal relationship with a resident while also being a role model as a Mentor, help residents with their academic progress as a Tutor, lead educational programs as a Group Night Presenter, or help with different projects as a general volunteer.
God showed me that He had a higher plan for me and directed me to New Beginnings: A Home for Mothers. I have been here for a little over a month and have started parenting classes twice a week, have developed a healthier relationship with God (through church and devotion), and have signed up to attend school to complete my accounting degree starting this summer. Without the worries of having no roof over my head, I not only have been able to focus on my education goals, but also on my parenting skills, and my health as well. With no more self-doubt, I am very optimistic about our future!
Allesundrea (Shawna) joined the New Beginnings Family February 2018. She is expecting a baby boy in May. She plans on going to school and get her degree in accounting.
Many of our mothers, prior to coming to New Beginnings, did not have the opportunity, Christian encouragement, or resources to continue their education. One of the best books I have read is called A Framework for Understanding Poverty written by Ruby Payne. The author illustrates that poverty is often a result of a lack of resources, and that education can change the current prevalence of poverty. In fact, she goes on to say, "An education is key to getting out of, and staying out of, poverty." Education has the potential to break the cycle of poverty.
However, there is a caveat. More than 20 years of experience has shown us that mothers will often doubt their ability to continue their education because life events have eroded their self-confidence. As we know, self-doubt is a tough feeling to overcome, but by centering the focus on God's love for us, mothers learn that with Christ anything is possible.
We know that the educational attainment of a mother predicts the educational attainment of her child. For this reason, New Beginnings maintains an education fund in which we help mothers pay for the cost of tuition, school supplies, laptops, and transportation to school. Your gifts are life-changing for the mothers – they are finally given an opportunity to succeed with God by their side. To help your gift go further, the Siebert Foundation will match gifts given to education dollar for dollar.
Sharing the gift of education and Christ's love is key to breaking the cycle of poverty for mothers just like Kim, Meosha, and Letisha – even more than that, your gift breaks the cycle of poverty for generations to come. Will you prayerfully consider a gift today?
Thank you for supporting life-changing work. The mothers' accomplishments are a result of your gifts, and each mother is grateful for the opportunity to break their cycle of poverty.
Brianne Hansen is the Executive Director at New Beginnings. She grew up in Marshall, WI and graduated from Lakeside Lutheran High School. Brianne has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UW-Milwaukee and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys singing, camping, spending time with her dog (Bella) and cats (Mufasa & Jasmine), and going on adventures with her husband, Daniel.
Do you ever wonder if you really make a difference? Those volunteer hours that you put in or that money that you donate to help support New Beginnings, does it really matter? How can that help possibly make a difference?
A resident has graduated from the New Beginnings Program! It is all because of God's love working through your help and support! Here is Letisha's story and letter to all of you who have helped her along the way:
Dear Supporters of New Beginnings,
I am honored to write this letter. I came here to Milwaukee, and low and behold I found a great family with the staff of New Beginnings.
Since joining the New Beginnings Family I have began to find a closer relationship with God, my child has gained many new aunts with staff, and I know I have friends for life.
My growth here at New Beginnings is only through God’s Grace. Although rough at times this experience has only helped me grow as a mother, a Christian, friend, and soon to be wife. My now fiancé James Greyer also grew and gained much respect for New Beginnings and Staff. Because he was able to trust that his son and I would be in good hands he was able to go to school to get his CDL while also getting his life back on track.
Because of my experience here at New Beginnings I have began taking Bible Information classes so that I will be able to join the Lutheran church and extend my volunteering for New Beginnings. More than anything I plan to give back to this great organization that saved my family from sin, along with God’s help. I truly believe that God worked through this foundation.
My fiancé and I will be moving into our new apartment. We will also be married at Saint Marcus Church. But the best thing about all of this is the relationship that has grown with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Because of the daily devotions and one on one Bible studies I was able to learn about God, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For that I will forever be grateful. Although I made some mistakes along the way again New Beginnings was right there to help me get back on track, for the first time in a very long time I feel like I’m headed in the right direction and New Beginnings along with God are cheering me on.
Gratefulness is all that is flowing in my heart, and by myself volunteering at New Beginnings I hope to give as much as they gave me back to another mom.
Thank you for everything you do!
Letisha joined the New Beginnings Family in January of 2017 and had her son in May 2017. She is pursuing her education while making God and her children the center of her world. She has since graduated from the program but will continue in her journey as part of the New Beginnings Volunteer Family.
3. We have a wide range of opportunities available. Mentor. Tutor. Home Assistant. And so much more! The opportunities are endless and we have special projects all the time. And you know what? If you have a talent or interest you’d be willing to share with us that you don’t see covered in our current available opportunities, I bet we could use it! All you have to do is reach out to us and we will find a place for you!
4. Our moms are awesome! They are hard-working and hilarious and pretty fun to be around. We get to help them through some tough things and we get to celebrate their successes with them. Volunteering is always more fun when you get to spend time with great people!
5. You may get to hang out with some babies! I’ll let these pictures do the talking for this one:
7. You might learn something! Whether you’re forced to learn something in order complete a project or you learn something while helping a mom, chances are you’ll find out something you didn’t know before volunteering with us. I interned at New Beginnings prior to working here in the capacity that I do now and I deepened my knowledge in so many areas from interacting with and helping others to the day-to-day operations of a non-profit. Most importantly, I gained experience in a Christian environment and therefore strengthened my faith. As staff members, we are learning and growing in faith every day and you will too!
8. It’s great experience to add to a resume. No matter what you’re doing to help us, you’re gaining great experience that you could add to your resume! Want to practice a new skill? What better place is there to put that skill to use?
10. WE NEED YOU! Without the support of our donors and volunteers, New Beginnings could not continue to run and help moms here in Milwaukee. With the help of volunteers, we’re able to help more moms and do more to help the moms we already have here. The bottom line is that volunteers are vital to the success of our moms and our program as a whole. Your talents and time are needed here!
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” Isaiah 58:1