Faced with a difficult choice, Sierra moved into Mater Filius last March. The 17-year-old struggled with homesickness but rose to the challenge. After all, she said, it wasn’t just about her anymore. She was expecting a baby boy in five months.

During her nine months at Mater Filius, Sierra volunteered at an assisted living home, completed her CNA certificate, will graduate early from high school next month and, most importantly, gave birth in September to her beautiful son, Uriah.

She also learned some important life skills such as cooking for a family, housekeeping, financial planning and parenting with love and logic. She participates in workshops about Safe People and the Life of Christ.

“At first I felt overwhelmed about coming to Mater Filius, “ Sierra said. “I was surprised at how welcoming and calm it was. I thought it would be like a dormitory, but I like how it is an actual home.”

One of Sierra’s favorite components of Mater Filius is having her own personal doulla – or a mentor mom. Each mom is assigned a doulla from the first week she enters. The doulla walks with her young mom throughout her journey at Mater Filius by coming for weekly visits and spending time in the Chapel together.  “ I love Kim,” Sierra said referring to her doulla Kim Williamson. “ It’s nice to have someone to talk to that’s not necessarily my mom. She doesn’t judge me, and I know everything I tell her is confidential.”

The feeling is mutual.

“The most rewarding part for me has been to see her mature, but more importantly, helping her focus on Christ in times of hardship and in Thanksgiving,” Kim said.

Sierra has big dreams for her and Uriah. Earning her CNA certificate solidified her decision to make nursing a career. She hopes to enroll at the College of St. Mary in Omaha next fall.