Is Your Church Looking for a Powerful Way to Impact its Community? Consider offering the MAKE IT program.
Take what God has gifted you with and use it right where you are.
That’s exactly what my friend, Ikecia Lenese Mapp, did.
Ikecia was 16 and pregnant, but determined not to become a high school dropout.
Her story is one of hardship, healing, and triumph as she fulfills God’s mission for her life. <<Click to Tweet
She worked hard to stay in school, eventually going on to college, and getting her BA in Psychology at Rutgers. Not long afterward, she began to feel a tug on her heart…an overwhelming sense of purpose to help people. She didn’t realize it was God at the time, but she followed the prompting, left her corporate job, and began working in Social Services.
In April of 2006, Ikecia accepted Christ as her Savior. Then, when an illness rocked her world in 2009, she realized she hadn’t fully committed her life to God. That’s when she gave Him full control.
Ikecia desires to touch people with Christ’s love, taking what’s been given to her and sharing it in real and compelling ways.
As part of her Masters of Human Services thesis, Ikecia created the MAKE IT program. MAKE IT stands for Mothers And Kids Excel In Triumph. Her goal was to help young women who were in the same situation she had been in – teen moms on public assistance. Ikecia’s vision is for each participant to become self-sufficient and build their self-esteem by gaining life skills, and getting off public assistance permanently.
- The MAKE IT program is made up of several modules:
- The Parenting Experience provides parenting techniques and encourages school involvement;
- Strategic Employment Options includes resume writing, interviewing, and job search skills;
- Creating Financial Success contains information on money management, budgeting, and credit worthiness;
- Utilizing Community Resources shows how to use public assistance and other community resources in a way that allows for ultimate independence from them; and
- Building Motivation Through Inspiration. This module is the truly unique portion of the program, because while many life-skills offerings focus on the practical aspects of providing a hand up, MAKE IT covers the subjects of ethics, values, and self-image, which are usually not included in other programs.
Ikecia is part of CommunityConnections, the outreach ministry I head up at Central: A Christ-Centered Church, in Ewing, New Jersey. Central has had a relationship with Trenton Family Preservation House, a 17-bedroom homeless shelter for families in Trenton, NJ, for several years. Last fall, Centrai brought the MAKE IT life skills program to the women there.
Congregants from Central, with expertise in the different categories, made up the roster of presenters. They received instruction on the tenets of the MAKE IT program and then brought it to life over a period of eight weeks.
Each woman attending MAKE IT received a “kit” that consisted of a three-ring binder, a spiral-bound notebook, a coupon holder, calculator, pen, and two-pocket folder to hold the variety of hand-outs provided each week. At the end of each session, they also got a Certificate of Completion. When the program drew to a close, there was a party to celebrate, and those who finished all eight weeks received a special certificate and $10 Target gift card.
That first time the MAKE IT series ran through Central’s CommunityConnections, an average of 10 women attended each class, with three completing the entire program. This past spring, the class size each week averaged 12 women and six completed the full program.
While it was great to see the women get helpful information, it was especially moving to witness emotional healing and walls coming down as the ladies interacted with presenters and fellow students. Many from Preservation House shared about their abusive relationships and desire to conquer addictions so they could be reunited with their children. Women from Central were allowed, even requested to pray with them for strength. Several of the women mentioned that they felt a sense of restored hope in themselves and for their lives.
The MAKE IT program, which is copyrighted, is available for a nominal fee for use in your community or local church directly through Ikecia. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. A website is in the works.
Check out Ikecia’s latest project, her book, Upon my Heart, Upon my Soul: A Compilation of Reflections, Realizations and Revelations, on Amazon (including a Kindle version) and Barnes and Noble. The book book shares Ikecia’s inspirational journey through teenage motherhood and beyond, with a motivational focus on parenting and overcoming obstacles. You can also find Ikecia Lenese Mapp on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ikecialenesem
Ikecia Lenese received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in Psychology and graduated from the Master of Human Services program at Lincoln University with honors. She is a member of the Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society, the Rutgers Alumni Association, and the INROADS, Inc., Alumni Association. She received certification from the Mercer County School of Performing Arts in 1996. She is the author of MAKE IT: An Empowerment Seminar to Help Mothers And Kids Excel In Triumph In Mercer County, NJ, and has served the community through counseling for over ten years.
Toni is a mother of three counting her new son-in-law! Employed as the Creative Services Director for a New Jersey radio station, she is also a voice-over artist, blogger, and director of CommunityConnections, the outreach ministry of her church. Toni has written devotions for christiandevotions.us and The Quiet Hour. Her passion is showing God’s love to others through practical acts of service.