How and Why Mentoring Parenting Teens Works
Pregnancy among teens brings its own unique set of challenges and circumstances, affecting all levels of the community. According to DoSomething.Org, nearly one-third of teenage girls will become pregnant and 60 percent will give birth. Many of those girls will raise their child without help from the father. That leaves many young ladies facing single parenting before turning 20. Mentoring parenting teens can help to bridge the gap between what babies need and what a teenage mother is prepared to give.
For many girls, having a baby during high school can mean a permanent interruption in their education. Statistically, less than half of teenage mothers earn a high school diploma and just over one percent finish college. Raising children is demanding for all mothers, but teenage moms without a partner face additional challenges. Providing for their child is one of those challenges. So, too, is the lack of a healthy support network. Mentoring parenting teens aims to encourage and enable young parents to complete their education and, at the same time, offers skill development along with positive social support.
Skills and Support
JUMP is our YWCA program designed for mentoring parenting teens. The acronym stands for Journey to Unite Mentors and Parents and is open to pregnant teenagers or teens raising a child under the age of three. All JUMP mentors are volunteers who receive training in how to be supportive. The program offers monthly meetings for learning key parenting skills, playgroup opportunities, home visits and more. Incentives such as diapers, baby bottles and baby wipes encourage attendance at meetings. With JUMP young moms are surrounded by a caring group of adults who encourage them to stay in school. They also find strength through meeting other young girls in similar circumstances who are working to be the best moms they can be for their child.
The Impact of JUMP in our Community
The YWCA JUMP program is unique in the area and worked to help 70 young people and 75 children in 2015 alone. The JUMP program represents a cooperative effort with Mosaic Life Care and the St. Joseph Youth Alliance. These agencies work hand in hand with the YWCA to ensure that babies of teen mothers stay properly immunized, healthy and well-supported. Mothers and babies receive benefits through JUMP. Last year the program experienced a marked increase in the number of teen moms willing to be paired with a caring adult mentor.
Mentoring parenting teens works because it meets identifiable needs. Young moms need encouragement that they can be good parents and finish their education. Children need parents who understand basic parenting skills and who can create positive homes. If you are a pregnant teen or know someone who is, check out JUMP. If you are a caring adult who would like to make a genuine difference in the lives of others, contact us today and find out about becoming a trained mentor.