LIMA — Julianne Frankhouser knows a thing or two about being a scared teenage mother with no place to turn.
That’s where she found herself at 17 when she was pregnant and out on her own.
In less than two years, she was pregnant again and struggling to survive. Those struggles would shape her life forever. They also led her to start the Guiding Light Home, which is open for teenage mothers or those expecting.
“I probably would not be doing this had I not been through this,”Frankhouser said. “Even though it was tough, it made me stronger.”
The home, at 592 S. Main St., has five rooms for clients ages 13 to 22. The home was completely remodeled and is a magnificent display of new constructions to give teens a hospitable home in a healthy, safe environment. The home will have an adult volunteer around the clock, Frankhouser said.
Frankhouser started by opening the phone book and calling people. She’s a high-energy woman with a convincing tone who makes it hard to say no to. Numerous business and individuals donated time and construction materials to help make Frankhouser’s dream a reality. It will be operated as a nonprofit running on donations and the help of volunteers.
Frankhouser is very religious and said she did a lot of praying God set her on the mission of opening a teen shelter.
“I’ve always had a passion for young moms. My heart goes out to them,” she said.
Guiding Light will not offer permanent housing for teen mothers. They can stay with the goal of eventually transitioning to independent living. The home will offer educational opportunities to give young mothers the skill set they need to survive in the world, including counseling and a life coaching.
Frankhouser now is married with four children. Following her struggles, earned a bachelor’s degree and is a registered nurse pursuing her master’s degree. She said her experiences will help her with the young mothers: She knows what they are going through, the fears and feeling of hopelessness.
“I felt like it was me against the world. I didn’t know there were any resources,” she said.
Now, there’s one more in Lima.