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Guest Column: Seeds of love grow neighborhood miracles

December 13, 2017
By Ashleigh Chevalier , North Fort Myers Neighbor

So many days, there is tragedy. So many days there is heartbreak. In an instant, a woman's dignity is lost or a child is left orphaned. In an instant, a life is lost.

Rarely do we hear the stories of courage. Rarely do we hear the stories of life and victory when a person overcomes adversity and thrives over circumstance.

But, there is a neighborhood residential home in the heart of Cape Coral dedicated to making the heartbroken into community heroes, a place where love takes root and transforms.

Katherina showed up on the doorstep of Lifeline Family Center when she was 17 and pregnant with her first child. She had not completed her high school education. Newly pregnant, she was at a loss of what to do and had no means to provide for herself or her child.

Lifeline Family Center offered Katherina an opportunity, a hope for herself and her future and her child's future. At Lifeline, she was able to earn her high school diploma, accounting certificate, and went on to further her career training. After working in accounting for several years, she is now a proud wife, the mother of two beautiful daughters, and works in public relations and outreach at the nonprofit ministry that supported and encouraged her to do what everyone else told her she could not do: be a single mother and support herself and her daughter.

"Without Lifeline, I would not be where I am today. Lifeline is where I found Jesus," Katherina said.

For 21 years, Lifeline Family Center has provided residential, education, counseling, and child care programs to young pregnant, single mothers (ages 16-25) and their children. Lifeline's whole health program requires residents to take parenting and prenatal classes, character classes, life skills classes where they learn budgeting, sewing, cooking, and take art and exercise classes. Young ladies participate in devotions every morning and attend local churches on Sundays.

All of Lifeline's residential programs are built around a successful education and career track tailored specifically to the resident. It is the hope, and proven successful strategy, that the supportive and focused program will restore young ladies from the inside out, empowering and equipping them to provide for themselves and their children.

2017 has not been without its challenges, however. Lifeline Family Center suffered a cyberattack and virus which greatly affected its IT systems right before Hurricane Irma hit. With Irma, Lifeline suffered roof damages and lost over half of its campaign time for one of their two annual fundraisers, LIFEwalk Cape Coral, held Saturday, Nov. 4, at Jaycee Park. It did not generate the full year's funds it usually raises as a result. Lifeline's former resident, now employee, Katherina, worked alongside other Lifeline staff and volunteers, supporting and encouraging young women and children who are in the same shoes she was in before.

Despite the obstacles, the nonprofit bolsters its mission of restoring hearts with love and saving lives with faith in God and the community.

"We have had challenges before. This is an amazing community, generous in love and support," observed Kathy Miller, Lifeline's executive director and founder. "After all, the ministry is entering its 22nd year."

Many young women who come to Lifeline have suffered major trauma and abuse. Lifeline offers them an opportunity to break the cycle and empower them with education and the tools for success.

To date, Lifeline's program has served 170 young women plus their children. Lifeline's crisis hotline has served over 6,000 women. Lifeline does not accept any local, state, or federal funding, and relies heavily on private donations and its two annual fundraisers to thrive in Cape Coral, changing lives from the inside out in this corner of the world, two lives at a time.

If you or someone you know is pregnant, and needs help, the Hotline is available 24/7. (239) 772-HOPE

If you want to learn more about Lifeline's impact on the community and how you can contribute to this life changing, neighborhood residential program, please visit .

- Ashleigh Chevalier is the public relations and marketing director of Lifeline Family Center in Cape Coral.



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