Support system available for mothers
By Marlisa Harding
Lodden Hixson Harp dedicates her time to helping women build a better life for themselves and their children as the Sowela Advocate at ABC Pregnancy Resource Center. Harp said she’s always been passionate about helping mothers see the best in themselves.
“I love showing them they are valued and their babies are valued. In fact, they’re more than just their babies.”
Several years ago, Harp was speaking with her father John Hixson about ABC’s work when the two realized they could both use their gifts to help women. “My dad has always been very passionate about education and I am passionate about shepherding the mamas. So, we teamed up to work with Sowela to help moms get a better life for themselves.”
On the first Friday of the month, Hixson and Harp meet with women interested in furthering their education and help set a plan for enrollment.
“We chose Sowela because it’s simpler programs with it being two-year, associates. And then we approach all the barriers that a mom might have to not go to school and walk side by side with the moms through each one of them.”
Barriers often include transportation, childcare and funding education. Leveraging local partnerships, like the Calcasieu Transit, and state and federal financial programs, Hixson said they are nearly always able to overcome the barriers, the women simply need a supportive hand.
“A lot of these mamas don’t have a support group— someone rooting for them. So, my main purpose is to shepherd them and let them know, ‘I’m going to walk with you every step of the way.’”
Part of walking along side the women is meeting them in person for every step of the enrollment process. “I meet them at Sowela, help them apply for their FAFASA, ACCUPLACER and get things in place. A lot of mamas are too afraid. They’d never walk in the building themselves.”
Whether it’s a listening ear, a hand to hold or a computer to borrow, Hixson is devoted to ensuring the clients at ABC are on the road to a brighter future. “Many see this (education) as an impossible task. They think they’ll stay where they’re at forever. But I tell them, ‘This isn’t impossible. You are brave and so capable of building a beautiful life for yourself and your children.’”
Investing in the education of mothers is a generational commitment, she added. “We’re hoping it will be a generational thing. We’re changing the trajectory of entire families and also, to be honest, showing them the love of Jesus.”
Currently Hixson is working with 15 students enrolled at Sowela. The majority are training to become LPNs and RNs.
For more information on ABC Pregnancy Pregnancy Resource Center visit, www.abcprc.com.