Category Archives: Guest Blog

There’s this nightmare that plays over and over in my head.

We’re returning to Wow Me Wednesdays when we invite really innovative, creative, supportive friends of The Nest to write a guest blog. I’m blown away by the next several week guest writers. If you would like to write a blog pertaining to our mission or ministry please email Carissa at

This week’s guest blogger is a true friend of The Sparrow’s Nest. We’ll call Brett Kunin one of those uncut diamonds in the rough. He’s hysterical but cutting, but at the very core one of those really good guys who takes parenting very seriously. I never knew his story until now. I hope you will be as blessed as I was to read his guest blog. 

There’s this nightmare that plays over and over in my head. My girlfriend and I are standing in our kitchen arguing about what to do about the situation we’ve found ourselves thrust into. There’s a Yellow Pages book open on the kitchen counter. The phone book is opened to abortion clinics.

You see in January 2001, my girlfriend became pregnant. We were shocked. We didn’t know what to do. We had been living together for a year. She was 22. I was 30. I was established in my career. I owned a home. Still we contemplated doing the unthinkable. We didn’t plan for her to be pregnant. We didn’t know if we wanted a child.

Thank goodness we shut the phone book that day and never opened it to that particular page again. Today I look at my son and I shudder to think that if we had made that choice he would not be here. How different would my life be today? I know that my life would not be filled with the love and daily doses of laughter and joy that my son gives me.

Now think about a teenage girl. She’s 16 years old, a sophomore in high school. She’s made a mistake. She’s made the same mistake that many of us have made. Her family is horrified. This frightened teenager’s parents are so upset that they kick her out of the house. Her boyfriend and his family offer no help. She doesn’t know what to do. There’s nowhere for this young pregnant girl to turn. It seems like she has no choice. Her parents want her to choose an abortion.

There’s another girl out there who’s homeless to begin with. She was orphaned as a baby and has been in and out of foster care her entire life. Now she’s pregnant and living on the street. What’s she to do?

My girlfriend and I were in a position to care for a child. We had a warm home, the support of our families, and the financial means to care for our son, yet we were still terrified. I cannot imagine the terror that surely goes through a teenage girl’s mind when she learns that she’s pregnant and is now faced with the overwhelming responsibility of surviving pregnancy and raising a baby.

I remember how difficult pregnancy was on my girlfriend, who soon became my wife. She was nauseous and uncomfortable; her clothes quickly became too small. There was so much to do. We needed to buy a crib, a car seat, and a high chair. We needed bottles, diapers, and clothes for the baby. Again, we had a comfortable home and it was still miserable for my wife during pregnancy. Now imagine a frightened, homeless teenage girl going through these same experiences. It’s almost unimaginable.

Up until now, an abortion may have seemed this young girl’s only choice. That is changing however. This girl now has a real choice. The choice is now available for her to turn to caring arms and motherly wisdom. She now has a place to go where she will be accepted. She will have a place to go where she will learn that she is not alone. This place will give her and her baby a fair chance. It will be a place where she will learn to make healthy choices for herself and her baby. That place is the Sparrow’s Nest.

I choose to donate to the Sparrow’s Nest because I’ve made mistakes, but always had the means and the support to recover from my mistakes. Many teenage girls don’t have the means or any support so they make a decision that they must live with and will likely regret for the rest of their lives.

I choose to donate to the Sparrow’s Nest because I’ve witnessed firsthand how difficult pregnancy is on an adult woman who has a home and a partner. The burden on a homeless teenager is not something that I’ve witnessed and I feel no one girl should be forced to endure pregnancy and childbirth alone.

I choose to donate to the Sparrow’s Nest because I understand that my donation is an investment in the future of my community. I realize that helping a young mother and her child get started off on the right foot in life can make all the difference.

I choose to donate to the Sparrow’s Nest. Will you?

You can read more about Brett’s life as a single dad at





Guest Post from Parent Educator Sonya Burnett

Working with teen moms is always a challenge and never dull. I enjoy seeing them become young adults and growing on the journey of parenthood. So often I see the young parents turn out fine and move on to the next stage of their life. But, sometimes there are the teens that really stand out in their struggle. These teens often need extra support. They come from abusive homes, from families that have so little to give financially or emotionally that they could use the support of a shelter. If you have worked in any helping field that deals with homelessness you know that shelters are extremely full and hard to get into. Imagine being young, pregnant and homeless, having a baby and being put out by parents that just don’t understand that you are still a teenager or realizing that you don’t want your child to witness or be a part of the abuse that you have been subjected to. Imagine being told that there is a shelter available, but you have to leave your high school, neighborhood and friends. St. Charles County needs this welcoming place for young teen moms so they can be supported in their community to become the best parents and citizens that they so want to become. I see it everyday working with teen moms in the STL metro area. Offering resources, but girls stay where they are because the change is too great so they and their babies stay in situations that are not optimal. Some teens may not need the physical building of the shelter, but may just need to know that they have a safe place to go and others like them will be there for support and to lift them up on their journey. An example of the needs I deal with frequently are transportation, emergency formula, diapers, wipes and infant toys. These young parents need the mentorship and modeling of healthy parenting so many have never seen nor have their parents. The Sparrow’s Nest can provide this. I know that Carissa and the Sparrow’s Nest Family are on a great journey to do a greatly needed service in the St. Charles community. Sonya L. Burnett, M.P.H. Certified Parent Educator for 14 years Ferguson-Florissant School District I have worked with teen parents for more than 7 years over my 14 years with the Parents as Teachers program. I thoroughly enjoy what I d

“Such a Place for Just Such A Person Asking” Guest blogger: Board Member Marla Stover

When someone asks you to be a part of something and this thing will require effort, thought, time, maybe even work, what is it that drives us to say yes? Sometimes it’s the person asking. We feel an obligation to that person, or even become scared of the response from that person if we say no.  Sometimes it’s the place. You know what this is like. You’re asked to be involved with an event that is being hosted at a place that you love or would love to see.  You agree to be a part of something because of where it is. Sometimes it’s the thing itself. Sometimes you hear about something that, even though you know there will be work ahead – perhaps even hard work, you simply are pulled from inside to be a part of such an event – such a thing – such a place – such a person asking.

Who is the person asking? You might think I would say Carissa Figgins. But, no, I’m not. How can that be right? How is it that I would say Carissa didn’t ask, … especially when she asked you, or someone you know, to help or pray or work or serve? I say no, the person asking is not Carissa.

Where is the place? Presently the “place” is simply an idea, … a thought, … a doodle in the artist’s sketchbook. It isn’t a house you can visit. It isn’t a location that you would love to see. It isn’t even a beautiful piece of art yet. I say no, the place is not here.

What is this thing? What is this event that pulls at heartstrings and creates a desire to be involved when it seems like there isn’t enough time, thought, effort or work available? This thing you may think, is such a thing as The Sparrow’s Nest. I say no, that is not the thing.

I say this. Unborn life is the person asking for a place … in mother’s arms. Unborn life requires effort, thought, time, work.  Unborn life can pull at heartstrings, creating a desire to be involved in something that we want to see grow, feel obligation toward, and are even scared of the response if we say no.

Unborn life is asking.

I see myself saying yes. It is easy. The question was already asked of me exactly 20 years ago on February 4th. Unborn life was given to me in the form of a baby boy whom I would know in 9 months as Dylan. When he came, he required so much effort, thought, time and hard work, but all he asked for was a place… a place in my arms, … my heart, … my home… my home … his home. What if we had not had a home? What if we had not had a place? How could my heart and my arms provide for him when I was so young (I was 16 when Dylan was born)?

The Sparrow’s Nest is working to help girls age 14 – 18 answer those questions. If they are asking: Where can I go? Where is a place? Where is a home for me and my baby? I hear the unborn life asking for us to be a part of such an event – such a thing – such a place for just such a person asking.


Marla is the Marketing Director for Renaissance Plastic Surgery. Marla also serves as the chair over the Marketing and Development Committee for The Sparrow’s Nest. She has been married for 11 years and has three boys. Marla attends Zion Lutheran Church in St. Charles.