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Blessings Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Ready for New School Year
Blessings of Summit & Portage Counties is celebrating 20 years of helping teen mothers complete their high school education. A gourmet dessert celebration was held in August to commemorate the event. 100 people gathered for the occasion including present and former mentors, program volunteers, Board members, supporters, and teen moms and their families. Former Blessings students Lateace Lee and Annette Sawyer, both of Kent, shared their stories of success and appreciation for the program’s help in their lives. Special honor was given to Dr. Bruce Chouinard as founder of the organization and Board member for 18 years as well as to Jeanette Abell, retired GRADS teacher from Kent City Schools, who has served all 20 years with Blessings, including the past 15 as Discipleship Coordinator.
The 20th anniversary dessert celebration was also a fundraising event. Over $7,000 was raised for the on-going financial support Blessings provides to teen parents for child care costs during the school year as well as to help with costs of the program’s life skills meetings. “We are thankful for the support from many which has allowed us to not just exist over these years, but truly impact the lives of teenagers and their families,” shared Ron Bensinger, the present Chairman of the Board of Blessings. “With your continued support, we are dedicated to moving forward in our mission and in our concern for teen moms in this new school year.”
Blessings was created in 1995 to promote the personal responsibility of teen parents to complete their education by providing them with a mentor and child care money. The GRADS Advisory Committee of the Six District Educational Compact had realized many teen parents drop out of school under the weight of parental, financial, educational, emotional, and spiritual needs. Blessings exists today to help these young parents stay in school, function as a family, and become capable and independent citizens. The organization combines the expertise of church, school, and community in order to nurture a student’s overall growth. This nurturing and holistic approach is unique and effective.
Blessings of Summit & Portage Counties is based in Kent and serves students from the Six District Educational Compact (Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Kent, Stow-Munroe Falls, Tallmadge, and Woodridge school systems) and all Portage County schools. More information about the organization is available at their website - www.graceinkent.org/blessings.