For 12 years, evangelist Deborah Pinkney dreamed of starting a ministry to help young mothers improve their lives.

Then her son, Anthony Pinkney, married the then Kisha Preston in 2001.

Deborah Pinkney, a foster parent for 27 years, shared her dreams with her new daughter-in-law, who immediately got pen and paper and started writing out Deborah Pinkney's program ideas.

That marked the founding of Pinkney's Vineyard of Faith Ministries and its House of Ruth facility for young mothers and their children.

Pinkney's Vineyard of Faith Ministries operated a facility in Mount Wolf in September 2005. The ministry moved to its current facility in Windsor Township in October 2009.

The program: Pinkney's Vineyard, which has 17 staff members, serves pregnant and parenting girls ages 12 to 21. The clients stay at the House of Ruth from six months to a year. The ministry serves more than 100 clients annually, said Kisha Pinkney, the Pinkney's Vineyard executive director.

At the facility, the ministry teaches young mothers to change their lives by completing their education, improving relationships with their families, learning life skills and Christian values, and establishing parental partnerships with their children's fathers when possible.

"I believe in God and all things are possible through him," Deborah Pinkney said. "And seeing how we have touched many lives, makes me feel happy and I do thank God."

Clients often are referred to the ministry through court systems and children's services organizations from eight counties from Philadelphia to Adams County, Kisha Pinkney said.

"Our clients come in broken, still broken children themselves," she said. "But our job is to start to put the pieces together. We help

them get through their childhood and adolescence issues and then they can step into motherhood."

Participants: Joyce Dually, 18, from Philadelphia said she and her son, Leon Jackson, 2, have been at House of Ruth for a year. She will graduate from Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School in November. Afterward, she will study to become a certified nursing assistant with a long-term goal to go to college to become a registered nurse.

Dually said she wants to move to York so she can focus on her parenting and career goals.

"Since I've been at (House of Ruth), I've learned how to control my anger, respect adults, how to be a better mom, be stable and stay home," she said. "Before, I didn't respect my mom. Now I want my mom to be in my life."

Asia Nelson, 17, of York, has been at the House of Ruth with her son Jaquan Lawton, 1, for more than four months.

She said the ministry has shown her how to care for her son, stay off the streets, improve her attitude, become more patient, develop positive friendships and how to effectively listen and communicate with others.

"I'm closer to my mom," Asia said. "I can talk to her better now. I have greater appreciation for her and all the hard work she has to do to make sure we're taken care of."

Asia also is completing her education at Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School. After graduation, Asia said, she will enter a certified nursing assistant program, get a job and set up household for her and her son.

"I want to work my way up to be a registered nurse," Asia said. "A lot of the females in my family are in the nursing field. I want to follow that."

-- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at

How to help the ministry

Pinkney's Vineyard of Faith Ministries' House of Ruth serves young mothers and their children.

The facility needs donations of children's hygiene items, furniture, high chairs, and baby strollers and car seats.

Volunteers are needed to help in the children's day care area and to help teach young mothers health, fitness, cooking and budgeting skills.

For information, call 244-8743.

For monetary donations, checks should be written out to Pinkney's Vineyard of Faith Ministries -- with House of Ruth on the memo line -- and mailed to P.O. Box 146, Red Lion 17356.