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About Us 2017-01-02T22:00:56+00:00

OUR STORY

CARISSA FIGGINSFOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

It’s interesting to think about our lives as a story.

Words were written before we were even born.

The words become sentences. The sentences become paragraphs. Paragraphs become chapters.

These stories become intricate tapestries of surroundings, and events, and circumstances, but most importantly of people.

As the Founder and Executive Director of The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home I am richly blessed to see how some of these stories start to merge, intertwine, and then begin to weave into a very rich, interwoven tapestry of the stories of real people turning another page.

Our story doesn’t start with me as the founder. In fact, it would be hard to determine where the story starts.  I was a part of the story at Thrive, who were a part of the story of Lutherans for Life, who were a part of the story of the pro-life ministry, which was a part of ……well, you see it’s not so much how the story started but the fact that the chapters are still being constructed.

The basis of our story is I got mad. I couldn’t stand by and see lives destroyed because of young women feeling all of their God given power, all of their God life choices were taken from them. Babies shouldn’t be punished. Young women’s lives should not get stuck. That’s not the abundant life I know through Christ. Lives are precious. No matter what, we have to honor and protect all that God has created no matter where they come into His story. Especially when it seemed like the easy answer was if young mothers just had a safe place to stay while they figured out their next step with Christ, why couldn’t we make that happen.

After many, many phone calls, conversations, meetings, hours of prayer, researching our area, extensive training I decided to open up The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home for teen mothers, 19 and under, who are experiencing homelessness. I’ve realized very early on why few people have looked into this. It’s messy dealing with people. It’s complicated dealing with minors. It’s actually really difficult to accomplish the right, and moral, and ethical thing to help other people.It may seem the problem will never be solved. And you’re right. But Life is full of problems and we have to do something to try and solve it. This is where the story makes an exciting turn.

Since November 12, 2010 the story of The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home has been evolving into something truly beautiful.

  • We were granted our 501(c)(3) status with the state of Missouri.
  • We have a strong leadership in our board to lead our spiritual oversight, fiduciary responsibility, and fundraising efforts.
  • We have extensively trained staff including a full time house parenting couple, a part time house parenting couple, a case manager, and a business manager.
  • We have renovated a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom house nestled on one acre of deep woods to meet the requirements for food, fire, and state licensing all the while maintaining the warmth and welcome of a family home.DSC_6878
  • We are licensed to house 8 children under the age of 19.
  • We have over 125 volunteers serving as mentors, to event coordinators, to bible study leaders, to administrative help.
  • We assist any woman needing resources through The Branch Resource center which provides diapers, wipes, baby supplies, clothes, bibles, and counseling referrals.

I believe with all my heart that The Sparrow’s Nest will make an extraordinary difference in our community. We have been blessed with a unique opportunity to positively impact the lives of young women and in so doing impact the lives of families in our community for generations. We have a chance for people of faith to be led by the Spirit and to unite in prayer and action. Through the power of Jesus Christ a new and powerful story can be written on the hearts of these young women.

There are lots of places for you to be written into our story. Whatever gifts and talents you possess I’m positive God can use you. Whether you are a teen mama who just needs a little help right now, a volunteer looking to be a part of something bigger than yourself, We would love for you to become part of the story of The Sparrow’s Nest.

Carissa Figgins
Founder/Executive Director

OUR STAFF

AMANDA & JIRYIS SHAHEEN HOUSE PARENTS
Jiryis and Amanda met at Lincoln Christian University where they both studied. In May 2009, they traveled to Jiryis’ homeland, Israel, and exchanged vows amongst family and friends. By May 2010, they sensed God calling them away from Lincoln, and made the transition to the St. Charles area, where Jiryis has spent most of his life. They came to St. Charles knowing they were being obedient to God’s will, but still were unsure of just what God had in store for them.
There is never a dull moment in their house with two little ones- Hadassah and Abram. Haddie, as she often goes by, is full of spunk and energy. If you ever stop by the house you’ll catch her running around and laughing…or singing songs at the top of her lungs. Abe made his debut into the family in December 2013. Jiryis and Amanda have no doubt that God is continuing to write their story here in the St. Charles area, and look forward to seeing God do great things at The Sparrow’s Nest.

When we first came across The Sparrow’s Nest in October 2012- we knew something was different about this ministry. As we learned about The Sparrow’s Nest we not only saw the great need that was trying to be met, but the determination and passion that fueled the ministry – composed primarily of great volunteers. Something in us began to stir when we realized that this great mission and need was right in our own backyard. It wasn’t hard for us to decide that we wanted to be involved- somehow in someway. Not only that, but the foundation of how The Sparrow’s Nest was structured resonated with our values and lifestyle. Family is what life is revolved around for us, both culturally and spiritually. It’s the basis for how life works, and the greatest way to see change and to point someone towards Christ is to simply do life together with them, and BE family. We desired to have the opportunity to do life with the young girls and their babies that will be at The Nest…to guide, teach, grow, and love on them in the way they need by living out Biblical principles and teaching them in a Christ-centered home.

KRISTIN & BEN WOODSASSISTANT HOUSE PARENTS
“Since the time Ben and I were married, we had been looking for ways go beyond just voting ProLife and to live and act ProLife by loving the girls and women who are in situations of crisis pregnancies. We know first hand what a blessing a child is, as we have our daughter, Amelia. We are eager to serve and love as Christ loved and served. We are so excited to serve with The Sparrow’s Nest and to see how God works in these girls’ lives!”
ALYSSA HILBURNCASE MANAGER & VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
Alyssa worked as a case manager for Children’s Division prior to joining Sparrow. She also serves in the student ministry at First Baptist Church of Harvester.

“I am so excited to be a part of the team and ministry of The Sparrow’s Nest! I believe that the young women we serve deserve to know the love of their Creator and Heavenly Father. I also believe that they need to find their voice and be empowered to reach their full potential. I am committed to helping them in every way that I can.”

SUE OTTINGERBUSINESS MANAGER
Sue and her husband attend Harvester Christian Church. They have 3 children and 4 grandchildren.Tracy and Rob, Zoey and Judah, Matt and Jenn, Ashlyn, Sarah, Abby.
“For some time I had felt God nudging me to do something. I was always so busy I didn’t think I could fit one more thing into the day, but I knew God wanted me to trust Him and just take the step. After hearing about The Sparrows Nest at church I knew it was what He wanted me to do. I didn’t know what I would do, but He did! I took the step forward anyway and here I am. Retired and loving what I do at The Sparrows Nest! Little did I know that what I have done for a living for the last 25 years is what God wanted me to do for The Sparrows Nest. I am so blessed that God is using me in a way I never thought could be used to help His little ones know His love, His forgiveness, His redemption and how much He cares for them. I love the picture of how God rescues and heals us in Psalm 40:1-3. I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

KEVIN THOMPSONPRESIDENT
Kevin has been married for 25 years and has 6 children. Kevin is a CFO for Cambridge Engineering in Chesterfield. Kevin enjoys wood working and bird hunting. Kevin attends the Fairground Roads Church of Christ.
MARK HOLLANDERVICE PRESIDENT & TREASURER
Mark has been married for 10 years to his amazing wife, Melissa. Mark two daughters – Katie and Maggie – and one beautiful grandson – Blake. Mark attends Faith Chapel Church in O’Fallon and is a member of the Advisory Board of Directors.

“I believe that if we “believe”

in something, we have to stand behind that belief with our actions. The Sparrow’s Nest does exactly that and aligns with my Pro-Life beliefs – we have to provide the resources necessary to help these young women!”
JESSICA HENMANSECRETARY
Jessica has been married nearly twenty years and has three children by birth. She has been mom to fourteen more through foster care. Jessica and her family are active members of the Crossings Church in Wentzville. She is a certified nurse-midwife and serves families through the Birth and Wellness Center in O’Fallon.
“I believe people at all stages of development and in all life circumstances deserve respect, compassion, and the opportunity to live life to their greatest potential. At some point, most of us will need help from a loving friend or mentor to accomplish that. The Nest provides the love and sanctuary that young women and their babies need at a critical time in their lives, so they won’t merely survive a hard time, but will blossom into all that God has planned for them.”
CARLA KLASKINDIRECTOR
Carla has been married to John for 10 years. Carla is the Community Liaison with Mercy Hospital for the Tri County Region, she has also served in Customer Engagement and Marketing roles within Southwest Airlines and as a Legal Correspondent at American Family Insurance. She enjoys traveling, home rehab
projects, and entertaining. She attends First Baptist Church of Harvester in St. Peters.

“I believe in the heart and mission of The Sparrow’s Nest and that it is our responsibility to lead and encourage these young girls towards the hope of a brighter future. My vision for The Sparrow’s Nest is to create an environment where each girl will be nurtured and learn to nurture her baby, where she will feel empowered to achieve, where she will feel the love of The Sparrow’s Nest family and will embrace the love of the Lord and come to know him as her Father and personal savior.”

CARISSA FIGGINSEXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Carissa has been married for 24 years and has 3 children. Carissa has been involved in social service and parent education and is currently a Consultant with predictablesuccess.com. Carissa founded The Sparrow’s Nest after learning about the need for housing for displaced, homeless, teen girls facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Carissa enjoys reading, coffee, leadership development, and pretending she understands social media. Carissa is a member at Harvester Christian Church.

“I refuse to turn away from these children in need. It’s easy to see how we need to care for a precious, innocent baby. But it’s just as important to me that we care for that young mother with a second chance. We have a chance to impact not just one life but two. We have an opportunity to impact a generation through intervention, love, support, accountability, and empowerment.”

More about The Sparrow’s Nest

Christ’s love, grace, and mercy is the center of The Sparrow’s Nest. We believe God is perfect and we are not. But somehow God unconditionally loves every single one of us so much so that he sent his perfect and holy Son to rescue us from the death we earned for our sin. (John 3:16, Rom 3:23, 6:23, Micah 6:8)

We believe salvation is this crazy gift from God and there is nothing in this world we can do to earn it. We can accept God’s gift of salvation by trusting that His gift pays for our sins, and by sharing love to God and others. (Eph 2:4-10)

We believe our journey of trust begins when we lovingly obey the gospel (turning from sin, confessing Christ, connecting with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection in baptism) and continues as we humble ourselves daily to the transforming power of the resurrected Christ. (Rom 6:1-14)

We believe salvation is powerful, and when we receive His gift of grace we……start over and live a new life here on earth (2 Cor 5:17)

…have forgiveness from God for all our sins (Acts 2:38)

…share in table fellowship with God and His family (Acts 2:42-47)

…receive His Holy Spirit to guide and empower us (Eph 1:12-14)

…are blessed with spiritual gifts, the greatest being love (1 Cor 12-14)

…are adopted as God’s sons and daughters (Eph 1:3-6)

…are being transformed to be more like Christ (Rom 12:1-2)

…look forward to being resurrected in Christ (Phil 3:10-11)

…get to spend eternity with God and His family forever (Rev 21:2-4)

We believe His story continues today—we can discover our place in the story as we study the Bible and grow with His family to live according to His will. (Phil 1:6)

Click here to see some of our board members answer some of our more Frequently Asked Questions

Or read about them here:

Is The Sparrow’s Nest a 501(c)3 charity? We received our 501(c)3 status in November of 2010. Our EIN number is #27-3712845. We are eligible to receive your tax deductible donation to the extent allowed by law.

How are you funded? We are primarily funded through individuals. We are also supported at various levels by 9 different area churches. In addition we have been gifted several service group and private foundation grant monies. We host 3 main fundraisers a year including The Princess Dance, the RUSH 5K and a Gala. Many local groups also host third party fundraisers on our behalf. An additional source of revenue comes through our eStore with the sale of Sparrow merchandise as well as hand-crafted baby items in The Little Things Project.

Your address is listed as 6209 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, but when I drive by that address I see a shopping center, not a home. What’s going on? 6209 Mid Rivers Mall Drive is our business address from which we send and receive mail. The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home operates as a home and we do not plan to use the address of the home on our website, letterhead or other business correspondence.

When I searched online for The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home another address appeared on Standing Rock Court. Again, what’s going on? When we applied for our 501(c)3 status in 2010 the Standing Rock Court address was our only permanent address. We didn’t have a business address yet or a maternity home. It will remain the address associated with our 501(c)3 status until an update occurs.

Why aren’t there many pictures of The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home on your website? The Sparrow’s Nest will operate as a home with precious moms and babies in residence. We want to do all we can to maintain the privacy of the residence. While a few pictures appear of the house on our site and in Facebook they will be limited.

We have some room in our home and have thought about sharing that space with a young woman and her baby. Does this fit with the mission of The Sparrow’s Nest? While we may encounter situations where this type of setup might be beneficial, instead of placing someone in your home, we would refer to another agency that makes these types of arrangements.

How many young woman and babies will you be able to house at The Sparrow’s Nest? We are limited by the laws in our area to house no more than 8 residents under the age of 18.  So it could be 4 young women each with a baby, or 2 young women each with a baby and 4 other young women still expecting.

How long can a teen parent stay at The Sparrow’s Nest? What happens to them after they leave? Young mothers who are pregnant, homeless, and parenting can stay at The Sparrow’s Nest for the duration of their pregnancy and then up to a year after their baby is born. Our hope is for the mother and baby to return to a safe and stable home environment with their families. If the young women is of age we will assist her in locating transitional housing until she can learn to live independently. We have an after care program in development that includes scholarships for continuing education and incentives for staying off welfare.

What do the mothers do while staying at The Sparrow’s Nest? All residents of The Sparrow’s Nest will be 19 or younger so most will be required to finish their education either in public school, private school, a homeschooling situation, or GED program. Mothers are also required to attend a church that agrees with our faith statement. In addition, mothers are required to volunteer back in the community. In addition, mothers will complete parenting curriculum that includes childcare/parenting, budgeting, job skills, healthy relationships, healthy lifestyles, and bible study. Each girl will be responsible for cleaning her own space, taking care of her laundry, and assisting in meal preparation. In all the hard work it’s important to us to celebrate each milestone, each accomplishment, each little toe and finger that comes through our doors.

Is The Sparrow’s Nest a pro-life ministry? The Sparrow’s Nest is decidedly pro-life and values all Life. All Life is of extreme value. No matter how it was brought to us or how it leaves us we respect the Divine Creation from conception the death. Why does The Sparrow’s Nest have to be a faith-based organization? Christ is the beginning, the middle, and the end of all we think, say, or do. We know we can house and feed those in need but our strongest belief is the transforming relationship between us and Jesus Christ. We have been called into a ministry that God has already begun.

What type of staffing do you have? We believe in the two parent model of a family. Houseparents live in the house with the young women 24/7. A case manager and family counselor are contracted to manage the practical side of life. However, The Sparrow’s Nest is primarily volunteer driven. We have a Board of Directors and currently over 100 volunteers. Volunteers run everything from mailings, housework, event planning, fundraisers, writing policies and procedures, contributing to the newsletter and blog, running social media etc. TLC (Teaching and Learning Coaches) Volunteers work directly with our residents as mentors, tutors, bible study leaders, labor coaches, and play group friends. TLC Volunteers are required to log 36 hours or 6 months of regular volunteer hours which also includes 8-10 hours of training.

It is of utmost importance to The Sparrow’s Nest that we are diligent stewards of the gifts given to us. We strive to have transparency and accountability in our financial responsibilities. Below you will find a link to our 2013 annual report. If you have any questions please feel free to direct them to the board president, Kevin Thompson, at kd6kids@gmail.com.

2013 Annual Report – in magazine format

2013 Annual Report – in PDF format

OUR PARTNERS

The churches and businesses listed below provide support for our mission on an ongoing basis.  To find out more about these organizations, click on them! If you’re interested in becoming a partner of the Sparrow’s Nest, please fill out and submit the Partner Contact Form.

AFFILIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS

To learn more about these organizations, click on their logos.