Teen parents often have a tough road ahead as they anticipate the arrival of a little one. From challenges to completing a high school education to staying connected with friends who can’t relate to the challenges of parenting, teen parents often battle depression and loneliness.
At YWCA St. Joseph, the Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies program combats these common challenges by offering support and camaraderie to teen parents in Buchanan County. The program invites up to 85 teen mothers and their babies to participate in support groups and be matched with a mentor that provides support and encouragement.
The program also offers monthly meal preparation and nutrition classes, fitness classes, and mentoring support. Home visits and playgroups occur quarterly, offering participants additional opportunities for connecting with other teen parents and adults who support them.
The teen parents involved in the program can share the special challenges as well as the sweet moments of parenting in a group setting, where they can feel understood. They may also recognize that their situation is not altogether unique, and they are not alone. Teen parents are facing challenges that their childless peers may not encounter, but it’s always a comfort to hear a “me too” and find out that others have the same difficulties.
In 2017, Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies offered support in the following forms:
- Services were provided to 47 teens and 45 children
- Paired 44% of teens with an adult mentor
- 85% of enrolled teens remained in school
- 100% of children were up-to-date on their vaccinations
If you’re looking for a way to get involved, consider becoming a mentor to a teen parent. Whether you’re already a parent, an empty nester or have never had children, you are equipped to offer a kind word of encouragement to a new parent. Visit our website for more information about how to become a mentor, or if you know a teen parent that might benefit from this program please share about this opportunity.