Carissa Figgins, Executive Director
Carissa has been married for 24 years and has 3 children. Carissa has been involved in social service, 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.
Alyssa Hilburn, Case Manager/Volunteer Coordinator
Alyssa Hilburn has been working as a case manager for Children’s Division the last two years. She also serves in the student ministry at First Baptist Church of Harvester.
I am so excited to be joining the team and ministry of The Sparrow’s Nest! I believe that the young women we will be serving 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 Ottinger, Business 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.
Erica Grogg, House Manager
Erica graduated from Missouri Baptist University in April of 2015. She is a member at Matthias’ Lot Church where she serves in the children’s ministry. She loves to read and travel with a cup of coffee always by her side.
I absolutely love my role at The Sparrow’s Nest. It’s such a privilege to walk alongside these young ladies as they learn of our Savior’s love and figure out how to navigate life as a young mom. I’m excited to see how God continues to stir the hearts of everyone involved with Sparrow.
Katie Wright, Weekend Manager
Katie Wright graduated in May 2016 from Truman State and is currently enrolled in the Masters in Social Work program at UMSL. She is a member at Matthias Lot Church.
I wanted a job that pertained to my field and had a purpose and ministry. The Lord has always provided me with opportunities and jobs that help me learn to serve Him in so many ways. I found the Sparrow’s Nest through a friend and saw an opening and jumped on it, knowing the Lord is at work in this place. I love walking alongside these girls and fellow staff members and seeing how the Lord makes all things beautiful. His love is so evident and I am grateful each and every week for this opportunity.
Casey Vieth, House Aide: Kitchen Aide Coordinator
Casey Vieth is married to her husband Jim of twenty-nine years and they have a son and a daughter who are both in college. They are members at Messiah Lutheran Church in Weldon Spring, and as a family they have been on multiple mission trips in the past few years. After running a daycare out of her own home for twenty-five years for kids of all ages, Casey knew that even though she was leaving the daycare business she was called to work in an environment where she could let her caring nature shine.
I was trying to decide the path I wanted to take after so many years around children and families in my own home, and when I saw information about the Sparrow’s Nest and the wonderful work they do – I knew that God was calling me to be a part of it. For years,I had watched children and families grow along with my own, and I knew that there was something out there that would still allow me to serve God in that same way. The Sparrow’s Nest gives me the opportunity every week to be a part of something greater than myself, and I am so lucky to be able to serve mothers and their children in this way. God has truly blessed me with this opportunity, and I am so honored to be a part of this.
Lois Lanham, House Aide: Safety Coordinator
Lois and her husband John have been married for 10 years. Together, they have six grown children – five daughters and one son – as well as one daughter-in-law and four sons-in-law, plus seven (and counting!) grandchildren. Lois and John are active in several areas of ministry at their church, West County Assembly of God. She is an RN who retired from nursing in September, 2015, after working 17 years at St. Luke’s Hospital in postpartum and newborn nursery, then 20 years in a large pediatric private practice. Lois’s favorite hobby is reading, mostly fiction. She also enjoys scrap booking and some wood crafts. She is a homebody, but loves travel when it involves spending time on a beach, or visiting children and grandchildren.
Several years ago, while reading a book by a favorite author, Francine Rivers, God spoke to my heart and challenged me to find a way to help moms who choose to give life to their babies. Through a series of circumstances, I found The Sparrow’s Nest online. I became a TLC in June, 2014. I quickly fell in love with the ministry at The Sparrow’s Nest. I enjoyed my opportunities to interact with the young women and their children, as well as the house parents and other TLCs. I was thrilled with the opportunity to become part of the Sparrow staff in July 2016, where I am now working as a house aide. Watching the ways God transforms the lives of the girls who come to the Nest is so exciting! These girls are beautiful, brave, and strong. I have gained far more from being with them than I will ever be able to give back. And I get to love on their babies too! The Sparrow staff is truly wonderful. Sometimes I can hardly believe that I am not only allowed to share my faith in Jesus at work, but am encouraged to do so! I know that God has called me to this ministry, and I am so blessed to be part of the Sparrow family.
Lisa Randolph, House Aide
Lisa has been employed with Missouri Department of Social Services for over 24 years. She obtained her graduate degree in School and Professional Counseling from Lindenwood University in 2004. Currently, she counsels the teen moms at Sparrow’s Nest as well as others in the St. Charles County community through Christian Family Services. Lisa is married and has two children. She enjoys scrapbooking, DIY projects, other crafts and growing a garden. Lisa is a member of Connection Christian Church.
I am excited to be part of the Sparrow’s Nest team! God has guided my path to be an integral part in the lives of the residents. I met Carissa at a Ladies Bible Study where I heard more about the mission and goals of Sparrow’s Nest. I knew then I wanted God to use me in the capacity to encourage and empower young single moms. I am passionate about equipping young women with godly tools and strategies to be strong leaders in their homes and the community. It is truly a blessing to share God’s love and mercy and be part of a wonderful team.
Kim McKnight, House Aide
Kim and her husband, Tom, have been married for 33 years and have three sons, two daughters, two daughters-in-law, three grandchildren, and two dogs. They are members of Calvary Church and enjoy leading a small group that meets in their home. Kim feels blessed to have had the privilege of teaching their children for the past 24 years. She also enjoys reading, digital scrapbooking, doing puzzles, listening to minor league baseball, and organizing anything.
As I have entered my final years of homeschooling, I have had more time on my hands and had been praying about either a job or a place to serve. Just a short distance from my house I noticed a sign that read “Sparrow’s Nest”. After driving by it a couple times, I decided to look up the Sparrow’s Nest online. I read a little about the ministry, and I immediately knew that this was a ministry for which I’d like to volunteer. I called the number listed and within minutes found myself sitting in the office learning more about Sparrow and their volunteer opportunities. I began serving there by sorting and organizing donations in the office. A number of months later I became a TLC so that I could spend time encouraging the sweet girls that live at the Nest, and just recently took the next step to become a part of the Sparrow staff. I’m so thankful that God has allowed me to be a part of this incredible ministry.
Sara Anderson, House Aide
Sara grew up in the St. Louis area and has been at her home church, New Heights Christian Church, for 20 years. Sara attended Saint Louis Christian College (SLCC) beginning in August of 2009 and has since graduated with a Bachelor’s in Music & Worship and the Bible and a second Bachelor’s in Behavioral Ministry. In between her times at SLCC, Sara moved to Knoxville, TN to earn her Master’s in Elementary Education in 2014-2015. Sara has spent most of her adult life in school and volunteering at her home church. She now works part time at New Heights as the Worship Ministry Leader and the Administrative Assistant and continues to volunteer as a youth sponsor.
For the past six years, I have loved working with teens at my home church. In the past, I had the opportunity to work at Emergency Shelter and Transitional Living Program in the area and I loved the work. However, my schedule was very intense in my time there and there were personal issues that lead me to step away from my position there to seek full-time employment. In August 2016, God laid it on my heart to seek work in the field again. Just a few weeks later, I heard about the opening at The Sparrows Nest and learned of this amazing organization. In my interview process and in my time thus far with The Sparrows Nest, every red flag and frustration I had in the field prior to finding The Sparrows Nest has been addressed. God has proven to me that this is where he wants me and I am so glad to be a part of this amazing team of people and organization.
Valerie Tonsor, House Aide: Communications Coordinator
Valerie is a senior at Lindenwood University. She is a member of the Catholic Student Union, and attends Mass on campus. She loves to read, write, and spend time with her family and friends.
I am so blessed to be part of the Sparrow Team. I fell in love with Sparrow as soon as I started my internship in August, when we began our staff meeting with prayer. I instantly felt at home. I believe that all life is important, and I love sharing Christ’s love with our residents and their children. I am so excited to see what God has in store for me and the rest of the Sparrow’s Nest through this ministry! I hope that I continue to allow Christ to work through me here at the Nest.