A normal workweek for Lisa Allen begins with driving her youngest son to school.
After the drop-off, she returns to walk her puppy, spend time reading her Bible, run errands, continue therapy dog training, visit a friend for lunch, prepare meals, attend parent meetings, and volunteer at a local nonprofit.
All in a day’s work for a stay-at-home mother.
Allen is grateful for the deep purpose she has found in the vocation she’s been called to all these years.
“I know that my God-given role was to be a mom, and I have loved (just about) every minute of it,” Allen said. “I find joy in serving them and providing an environment in our home where my family can find warmth and a safe place to be themselves.”
Through Allen’s time spent in the Nashville Institute for Faith & Work’s (NIFW) Gotham Program, she was inspired to continue this theme of creating safe places for others, both inside and outside the home.
As part of the Gotham Program, participants put their collective year of study into action to a capstone cultural renewal project intended to affect change in their sphere of influence.
This was the impetus for Allen in her capstone project: to begin a support group for parents of children with ADHD.
“Parents who are walking with children with ADHD are often lonely and overwhelmed,” Allen said. “My desire is to provide the ‘light’ of encouragement, fellowship, support, and education to those that are interested in bonding through a support group.”
For Allen, the project is deeply personal, as one of her own children struggles with ADHD.
“The last year has been filled with ups and downs in our home,” Allen said. “Frequent doctor's appointments, counseling sessions, medication changes, the sudden diagnosis of other issues, and the feelings of hopelessness and concern caused us to wonder what the future would hold for our son.
“Would he be able to handle the rigors of college? Would he be able to hold a job and manage a family one day?”
This is why Allen believes a support group, which would feature field-leading specialists and a space to regularly gather, would serve so many in the community.
“We began to wonder,” Allen said, “if we were thinking these things, how many others were desiring the same thing?”
Upon sending out a survey to 45 parents of children with ADHD, words like "frustration, hopelessness, sadness, fear, worry, exhaustion, blame, guilt, anger, jealousy, lack of understanding, isolation disappointment, tired, desperation, and concern” were all too common.
This only furthered the need to do something and bring renewal to life right where God had placed her.
“If this need for community among parents of children with ADHD were addressed, many that are currently feeling alone and fearful could potentially find hope,” Allen said. “They could find companionship with others facing the same struggles and with those who have walked in their shoes before them.
“Before you know it, life-giving moments would occur.”
Allen, a 2019 Gotham alumni, was voted by a committee to be one of the recipients of the annual Shine Light on Darkness grants, awarded to seed a cultural renewal project each year.
“Receiving the grant basically meant the ability to move forward with the support group,” Allen said. “It was a huge encouragement and sign that this effort was meant to be.”
As Allen begins to dream of the future, aspirations of seeing the group develop into a full-fledged nonprofit with support offered by groups and specialists who walk with families through a difficult season of life remain on the horizon. However, the first steps will focus around finding space and specialists to begin a pilot gathering group.
“As parents receive hope, encouragement, and education, then their children will ultimately benefit,” Allen said. “In an age where our children are being challenged on all sides by our culture and the stresses of this world, coming alongside these families and children who are most vulnerable would be a gift that many organizations could certainly rally around.”
To learn more or get involved with the support groups, contact Lisa Allen by phone at 615-423-9878 or email at email@example.com.