Through living with and supporting a pregnant teenager, Treena and Marcus quickly learnt that there were few options for many pregnant teens in New Zealand. They recognised the need for a loving family environment designed for young women needing help with pregnancy.
The House of Grace Trust was established as a non-profit organisation in 2001 and has since helped more than 200 young women learn life skills and prepare for parenting or adoption.
In May 1999, Marcus and Treena van Rijssel had a vision to create a maternity home for pregnant teens.
Treena travelled to the United States to attend a Heartbeat International conference where she learnt about setting up and operating a maternity home. On her return, the van Rijssel's opened their family home to a pregnant teen and the vision came to life.
Treena van Rijssel
The House of Grace staff and volunteers bring with them a wide range of skills - from youth work and early childhood education to leadership, counselling, business and industry specific skills. As a non-profit organisation many of our people volunteer their time.
We help pregnant teens prepare for childbirth, raise healthy newborn babies, parent with confidence and stride towards their true potential.
Life skills - home management, budgeting, cooking and baking. Take an active role in the daily home routine and learn through hands-on experience.
Parenting skills - learn how to nurture the physical and emotional needs of a newborn.
School education - continue studies at a local school or by correspondence.
The House of Grace will help create a practical work or education plan for each girl's future and professional counselling is available to help residents build self-confidence and strengthen relationships.