â€śI asked the pharmacist for a test. I ran home locked myself in the bathroom and after a few long painful minutes in my young life, I turned my head and saw what I feared the most. I tested positiveâ€¦â€ť
Teen pregnancy affects the educational achievement of teens and that of their children. Â According to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, â€śParenthood is the leading cause of school dropout among teen girls.â€ť Did you know that statistically only four out of ten who have a child before they turn 18, attain a college degree?
Diana Zuckerman Ph.D. writes on her article, â€śWhen Little Girls Become Womenâ€ť that by their ninth birthday girls are starting to show signs of puberty. How can this help teachers to understand and be aware of the fact that these maturing young girls will need to learn to cope with their own personal confusing hormonal feelings at a younger age than usual?
I will not discuss here the reasons to early puberty but the importance in supporting teens that do get pregnant to finish school and support their newborn in the process. Unfortunately some programs that help pregnant teen girls finish High School and prepare for parenting in schools are slowly disappearing and losing support. I would like to share the words of a teen parent who was in one of these programs and became a mother at 13 years old.Â In June 2011, she obtained her high school diploma. She is just now finishing her 2nd semester at San Jacinto College, and is hoping to be able to transfer to Rice University after receiving her Associateâ€™s Degree. This is her story in her own words
â€śMy Name Is Adrienne Lopez & I am a teen parent. As a teen parent,i feel like I am looked down on. I feel like everyone feels like I did something wrong,but I know my life,what’s wrong,what’s right. I truly believe keeping my baby was the right thing to do. I also get the feeling that adults think us teenagers have it easy,but i’ve realized that everyone has their own definition of a hard life,whether it be money problems,family trouble,etc. I feel like I had a hard life, i lost my mother at a young age, my father was in &out of jail,and bringing a baby into the world has made it a little bit harder. Sometimes people feel sorry for me because I lost my mother, my father wasn’t in most of my life, and I have a baby, but if these events wouldn’t have happened too me, then I wouldn’t be the strong girl standing up here today. People look at us teen parents, like we have no head what we are doing or getting ourselves into,but in my 16yrs of living i’ve seen unfitted adult parents and unfitted teen parents. I don’t think age defines what kind of parent you’ll be,i think your maturity level and mind state will. At the age of 13,i became pregnant with my now 2 1/2 yr old.â€ť
Adrienne is one of many successful stories from Family Literacy programs. Family literacy programs consist of several disciplines, including adult literacy, emergent literacy, and child development. It benefits children, parents and families as a whole. With the assistance of federal funding, these programs have been able to eliminate barriers to education for these teens by providing transportation, daycare services, parent education classes and one-on-one home visits that serve as a support system for these struggling young parents.
In August 2012, the federal grant that funded the Family Literacy Programs will end and a new struggle begins to find financial support for a program that has provided many a second chance at life.Â Unfortunately many of these programs are slowly losing financial support. Wouldnâ€™t it make more economic sense to educate with the hope of preventing future social issues? Low school achievement and high school dropout rates to health problems and joblessness have been known to have dropped thanks to these programs.
Now, I will just let her voice take you through her journey.
â€śOn May nineteenth 2008 I laid there looking at the screen that showed a little baby.Â I started crying when I wiped the jelly off my stomach cuz that’s when it hit Me.Â How would I provide for my baby? Would I finish school? Would I have help? Would I be a single parents? I needed answers to my questions! When my dad saw the ultrasound he wanted Me to keep the baby, he said he’d be there financially and the father said he’d be ties and would do what he could cuz he was too young too work.Â I let my counselor know I was going to keep my baby and she introduced me to the family literacy program On october 23rd 2008 at 11:04pm I met the most important 8lbs4oz, twenty. five inches long baby boy named Anthony! I knew being a teen parent would be hard, but I also knew that I would and had to do everything I could for my baby boy.
There has been rumors that this or next year is the programs last year and to hear that is so heart breaking.Â The program has helped so many of us teens become successful and they’ve also helped us become better parents and people.Â This daycare is one of the best daycares i’ve ever seen in my life.Â My baby learned how too sit up all by himself at 4 mon, crawled at 5 mon, walked at ten months, and started using three words sentences at thirteen months.Â At the age of two he knew his colors, his numbers one through ten in english and spanish, and he was potty trained.Â Without the daycares help I would be few steps behind.Â Anthony learned so much from the daycare but so did i.Â They helped Me look at friendship, relationships, parenthood and basically life in a different way. This isn’t just some daycare where your children get taken care of, its more than that.Â Its like more of 2nd family.Â We trust each other, we help each other, and we are there for each other like family is.Â If the daycare were to close I would feel bad for the teen parents for not being able to experience something like this. I am grateful for having the opportunity to be apart of the program with the daycare I wouldn’t be where I am today.Â I’d be a junior high drop out.â€ť
Thanks to Jenny Martinez. She is a serious advocate for Family Literacy Programs and a great inspiration to many Adult and Teen programs.
If you have been in a teen program, could you please share your story? How can we help the students of today, become better citizens for tomorrow? Why do programs that work die out? I would love to read your comments on this.
Donâ€™t forget to join me on my second part of â€śThe New Glass Ceilingâ€ť and â€śThe Misconception on Contraceptionâ€ť