Why Bethany House is Needed
Bethany House was founded because of the desperate need of a
home that would minister to, encourage, and prepare young women
for motherhood or adoption in a timely manner.
How was the need for this program determined
and how will this program respond to the need?
Four years prior to officially opening Bethany
House, Beth Rhinehart, the program’s Founder and Director, worked as a counselor
for women experiencing crisis pregnancies. During this
time, the major obstacle facing these young women was safe, affordable
housing. Many girls had been abused and were asked to leave home
by parents or boyfriends, and they simply had nowhere to go.
Mrs. Rhinehart did the research, and officially discovered what
she was already aware of – a huge group of single, expectant,
young mothers without secure housing, living skills, or hope
for a better future.
Statistics continue to demonstrate the growing
need for programs such as Bethany House. In 1996, one million
teen pregnancies were reported. Described another way,
more than 100 US girls became pregnant each hour. Forty percent
of these women were under 18, and the other 60 percent were
ages 18-19. Bethany House will continue its mission to meet
the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of these high-risk
women and their children.
A recent study shows that from 1996
through 2000, Oregon had an average of 3,052 teen pregnancies
per year for a rate of 16.7 pregnancies for every 1,000 females
between the ages of 10 and 17. Over 40 percent of adolescents
will become pregnant before reaching the age of 20. By age
18, one in four young women will have a pregnancy.
Some of these young ladies grew up in healthy
loving homes, but a majority of them have no concept of a loving,
safe home. When they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant, they
are often asked to leave the only home they have ever had, the
only support they have ever known, and move into a new world
full of uncertainties, fear, and despair. There is no “system” in
place to guide and direct these women, much less give them the
love, nurture and comfort they so desperately need. Many of these
ladies are already living on the streets, or are moving from
one abusive situation to another, because there is no place to
go, and returning “home” is not an option. Others
are still at home, but are rejected as soon as the pregnancy
is discovered. In almost 95% of all the cases we have seen, there
is no potential spouse on the scene. Therefore, the girl is left
on her own to face the critical issues concerning the baby, as
well as uncertainty about her own future. These are just some
of the reasons Bethany House is needed.
in three teen mothers drops out of high school. Pregnancy and
parenting is cited as a major reason for females dropping out
of school. With her education cut short, a teenage mother may
lack job skills, making it hard for her to find and keep a job.
A teenage mother may become financially dependent on her family,
or on welfare. Teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty
than women who delay childbearing, and nearly 75 percent of all
unmarried teen mothers go on welfare within five years of the
birth of their first child.
We firmly believe that education
is a primary key to success. While at Bethany House, each young
woman is required to obtain a high school equivalency, which
includes resume writing and job skills training. If they have
already received their diploma/GED, we seek financial sponsorships
for college classes at our local community college. Graduates,
who do not wish to further their educations, are required to
seek employment or volunteer in the community. It is imperative
that these moms-to-be understand how to be responsible, thus
learning how to successfully become the sole supporter of their
Approximately 70 percent of all pregnant adolescents
do not receive adequate prenatal care. In reality; this is the
group that needs the most care. Once the baby is born, most teens
are not equipped with good parenting skills, or have social support
systems to help them deal with the stress of raising an infant.
We have an effective, two-phase approach to address
these issues at Bethany House. First, we immediately help the
young woman deal with her issues at hand. This includes proper
prenatal care, shelter, seclusion from the abusive elements,
and helping her get settled emotionally. Then she will have this
time to decide whether to keep her baby or adopt. That alone
is a huge decision. Regardless of the decision, we must use the
time each woman has in the program to demonstrate a healthy home
environment — a
safe home where they receive grace, mercy, and unconditional
love regardless of their past choices. For most, this is a brand-new
experience; in fact, it takes them some time to adjust to this
new living environment. Our goal is to enable these young pregnant
women to become successful young women, loving capable mothers,
and productive members of our community.
Please visit our testimony page to discover more
reasons we are needed.