Grant helps young moms succeed

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A new program is reaching out to teen mothers. The School of the 21st Century in Paragould recently received a grant through the Arkansas Child Abuse and Neglect Department to start up the program, which is called T.H.R.I.V.E.

Representatives with the school say they hope to help set up these young mothers with a career, and to be the best parent that they can be.  It would not only benefits the mother, but can put the child on a path towards a better future.

"Teen pregnancy happens and there are needs for that parent to have support," said Amanda Baldwin, who is a Family Support Worker. She says it's support the School of the 21st Century in Paragould hopes to provide.

Baldwin says statistics have shown when a young mother has a solid support system, they're less likely to get pregnant for a second time. The T.H.R.I.V.E program will help provide young moms, specifically teen moms with the building blocks to set a foundation for success for themselves and their child.

"It will connect them to resources in the community anything from food pantries, to medical services, housing, maybe helping them find jobs," said Baldwin.

The program connects young moms like 21-year-old Ernestina Nava. She and her daughter Carmon are a part of the program. Nava says it's pushing her to do things she never thought possible, like going to college.

"I just thought I couldn't go back because I'm older now and have a child.  I didn't have anyone to watch her. I didn't have this and that. By coming here, it's given me the opportunity to do it," said Nava.

The school has offered other types of assistance programs in the past, but Baldwin says with the T.H.R.I.V.E Program workers will actually go into the home. It's not only reaching out to the mother, but the whole family support system.

"That's looking at the whole family. If the teen is living the parents, we're going to bring the parents in the visits to be sure we're all on the same page," said Baldwin.

Baldwin says they'll also have parent meetings for young mothers to interact with one another, and know they're not alone. She says although the program is focused around teen moms, mothers who are 18 and older and are going to school are also eligible.

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