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SheRises Non-Profit Helps Teen Moms during Pandemic

Dareise A. Jones | 8/21/2020, 6 a.m.
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Sherise Houlden at her daughter Autumn Joi Williams’ high school graduation. Courtesy Photo

Sherise Holden, founder of SheRises, Inc. knows how difficult it can be for teen moms to take care of their children, especially during a pandemic. A teen mom herself, Sherise started her non-profit organization in 2019 to provide support and guidance for young mothers.

The Prince Georges County native was 17, and three months away from graduating high school when she gave birth to her daughter Autumn. She didn’t feel ready to be a mom and planned to give her baby up for adoption until her mother convinced her to keep the baby.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Sherise and her baby were homeless while she tried to make ends meet working a minimum wage job. She knew they couldn’t go on living that way, so she met with a pastor to discuss adoption options. Later that afternoon, she got a message from her boss telling her not to come into work. She was not yet aware of the terrorist attacks that occurred that morning, so she turned the news on and was flooded with emotions: sympathy, anger and the deep desire to keep her daughter.

And, she did just that! She was committed to being the best mother she could be while attending college courses at night until she earned her Associates degree in accounting. She would go on to earn her Bachelors in Business Administration, Masters in Project Management and MBA.

Sherise, now a mother of two girls, is a project manager for the IRS. She grew up poor and said “I had very little support from my family, and I was too ‘proud’ to accept government assistance.”

Sherise with boxes of Pampers at her home before the second Diaper Distribution event in May in Severn, Maryland.

Dutchess Selah

Sherise with boxes of Pampers at her home before the second Diaper Distribution event in May in Severn, Maryland.

Although her family couldn’t provide substantial monetary support, her mother gave her an excellent work ethic, which took her from a homeless single mother, to a successful mom, professional and entrepreneur.

Although disappointed that she had to cancel her Teen Career Development Workshop scheduled in April due to the shutdown of Maryland in March, she saw the opportunity to provide for moms in another way.

She immediately galvanized her team and sought donations for a diaper distribution using word of mouth and social media. Donations poured in through the non-profit’s Amazon Charity account and drop-offs. Within a week, her team was able to bless families in need.

During the first event on April 23, 2020, the SheRises team organized no contact porch deliveries in the rain in Bowie, Crofton and Glenn Dale for families who applied on their website.

Sherise handing out diapers during a She Rises Diaper Distribution event

Courtesy Photo

Sherise handing out diapers during a She Rises Diaper Distribution event

By May, SheRises had partnered with Elevation Outreach and Helping Hands of America to host diaper distributions in five different locations across the country. Diapers, wipes, formula and other items were donated through socially distanced drive up pick-ups.

To date, SheRises has held seven diaper and baby items distributions with no plans to stop.

Sherise is dedicated to “inspiring teen mothers to rise and discover that there is a beautiful and wonderful life on the other side of teen pregnancy.”

Join SheRises in reaching, inspiring, strengthening and empowering teen mothers by volunteering or donating at: www.she-rises.org