Why I love Teen Success Inc.
By Peter Belden
With so many organizations out there doing good work, what is it that makes Teen Success Inc. stand out? To me the specific focus on teen moms, an often overlooked group, and the clarity of Teen Success, Inc.'s goals sets Teen Success, Inc. apart. This clarity makes it easy to understand what the organization is trying to achieve and to see how it is progressing.
Teen moms are a clear, specific and overlooked population. Even many people who are concerned about teen pregnancy do not realize how common repeat teen pregnancy is and the lack of programs that work with teen moms. By focusing just on this group Teen Success Inc. has developed particular understanding and trust with the Teen Success members it serves.
Teen Success, Inc. has three goals:
1. maintain family size by avoiding unplanned pregnancy
2. complete high school
3. develop strong parenting skills to nurture their child's positive development
The clarity of these goals and the way in which the Teen Success curriculum directly addresses each of them reveals the careful thought that went into their selection. These three goals are also complementary. While other programs may focus only on parenting skills or mentoring for life skills they generally do not address the important topics of high school completion and of providing information on birth control to avoid another teen pregnancy that could the young mom’s plans. It was my head that brought me to Teen Success, Inc. but it's my heart that keeps me there. My head was attracted by the organization's clear strategy, but once I was able to visit a Teen Success group and hear from the teen moms in person my heart was hooked.
With such a high need, an important population being served and a clear set of goals I was excited by the opportunity to support Teen Success, Inc. and I hope you will consider it as well. And if that’s not enough, when you help a teen mom you are changing not just one life, you are changing two.
Peter Belden is a Teen Success, Inc. Board Member and is co-founder of Upstream USA.
As we usher in the holiday giving season, we would like to let you know about a global movement that Teen Success, Inc. is taking part in called #GivingTuesday.
#GivingTuesday, celebrated annually on the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, provides an annual opportunity to create a moment of national unity around giving and a more engaged citizenship.Congress earlier this week passed a bipartisan resolution endorsing the benefits of charitable giving and expressing support for #GivingTuesday, a social movement that encourages giving in all its forms by people and communities across the country. Everyone can participate!
On December 1st, you have the opportunity to make a difference. On this #GivingTuesday, we ask that you consider making a gift in support of the bright, motivated, and hardworking young mothers in Teen Success, Inc. They are working to make brighter futures for themselves and their children by completing high school, enhancing their parenting skills, and setting long-term educational, financial, and personal goals.
All gifts made to Teen Success, Inc. are tax-deductible.
Thank you for your support!
P.S. For all of our Facebook and Twitter followers! Teen Success, Inc. is trying out a new and exciting feature on social media that makes it easy for you to donate. Hashtag donations allow you to donate without leaving social media. Simply write #donate and an amount you'd like to donate on any TSI Facebook post or when you tweet us. If you're not signed up, you’ll receive a link to complete a one-time registration. It really is that simple.
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BY CARMEN GEORGE
Facing some of the nation’s highest rates of teen pregnancy in the central San Joaquin Valley, Teen Success, Inc. is working hard to support teenage mothers and reduce those numbers.
Becky Morgan, a former Republican state senator, founded the nonprofit four years ago after doing similar work with Planned Parenthood for more than 20 years. She talked about the journey during an open house for Teen Success Inc. last week at Fresno Barrios Unidos in southeast Fresno.
“Often teenagers say, ‘Why are you doing this? Were you a teen mom?’ ” Morgan says, “And I say, ‘No, I was not a teen mom, but I grew up on a farm, I didn’t have much, and people helped me and I wanted to give forward.’ And what I saw was the valedictorian of my very small high school class was pregnant when she graduated and we’ve never heard from her since."
Looking out upon the faces of many teen mothers in the crowd, Morgan adds, “and I don’t want these young women to disappear.
“I want them to have hope and to succeed and to have a richer life than they would have had without our help.”
Over the past year, the nonprofit has helped 235 teen mothers in the Central Valley who gather once a week in small groups to learn about parenting, setting and achieving educational goals, and things like contraception and waiting to have another child until they are financially and emotionally ready.
In Fresno, 19-year-olds Salina Rios and Cecilia Morales are among those who have benefited from the program. Both have plans to go to college.
“It just keeps us motivated to do better for our children,” Rios says.
“And it teaches us things that we never knew,” Morales adds.
Morales says she didn’t know about birth control, that condoms could rip, or that she could get pregnant as a young teen.
Rios wishes teachers had talked with her about the potential “consequences” of sex.
“I think if we had that kind of information, of STDs and condoms, in detail, not just like, ‘Oh, don’t have sex,’ I think it would have been more better,” Rios says. “They just told you about puberty, guy parts and girl parts.”
Facilitators with Teen Success Inc. also engage with schools to help promote comprehensive sex education.
Morales says the program is helping her learn how to be a good mom.
“The group taught me how to read to your child,” she says. “I didn’t know you were supposed to read to your child and they learn words and now my son loves reading books and, being 2, he knows a lot of words.”
Across the state, Teen Success Inc. has 20 teen mom groups facilitated by seven partner organizations. There are 12 in the Central Valley, four in Fresno – three through Fresno Barrios Unidos and one through Planned Parenthood. The Fresno groups average between 12 and 14 girls.
“Our facilitators will get calls at 2 in the morning because our young women don’t have somewhere to live, because they are in abusive relationships,” says Socorro Santillan, executive director of Fresno Barrios Unidos. “A lot of them come from probation or foster care, so they are really young women who are struggling to just make ends meet.”
Teen Success Inc. provides the funding, training, curriculum and technical assistance for community facilitators to implement the program. The newest teen mom group, run by Fresno Barrios Unidos, started meeting last week at the Big Red Church of Fresno in the Tower District.
Teen Success Inc. is proud of their accomplishments over the past year. They say 94% of teen mothers who went through their program graduated from high school or are on track to graduate, compared to 40% of teen moms nationwide, and that only 3% have had a second pregnancy as a teen, compared to 18% nationally.
For teen mom Cynthia Rodriguez, 18, the best part of the program is something you can’t measure in numbers.
“They are really supportive,” she says, “As soon as I walk in the door it’s, ‘Hello!’ Smiles from left to right.”
Carmen George: 559-441-6386, @CarmenGeorge
Menlo Park, CA, June 18, 2015 --(PR.com)-- Seven teen mothers receive college scholarships.
Seven teen mothers received college scholarships at an event held in Menlo Park earlier this spring. The keynote address was delivered by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge and former teen mom Teresa Guerrero-Daley. Judge Guerrero-Daley shared her own remarkable story as a teen mom and high school dropout to being the first Latina elected to the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Over 100 people were in attendance including Teen Success, Inc. supporters, community stakeholders, and the scholarship recipients and their families.
Teen Success, Inc., a nonprofit organization supporting teen mothers, hosted The Seeds We Plant, the third annual Teen Success, Inc. scholarship luncheon to honor the 2015 scholarship recipients. The mission of Teen Success, Inc. is to help underserved teen mothers and their children become educated, selfsufficient, valued members of society. It was founded in 2011 by former California State Senator Becky Morgan to help teen mothers stay in school, graduate, and make good lives for themselves and their children. Teen Success, Inc. implements 16 teen mother support groups in the Bay Area, Monterey County, and Central Valley of California.
"We are thrilled to award seven scholarships this year," said Karin Kelley-Torregroza, Executive Director of Teen Success, Inc. "These scholarships are transformational. Most of these young women are the first in their families to go to college and in some cases, are even the first to graduate high school. They are creating positive futures for themselves and their children."
In California, there were more than 35,000 births to teen moms in 2013. The challenges of early parenthood are significant: 70% of teen mothers in California drop out of high school, one-fifth of teen moms have a second birth as a teen, and children born to teen mothers are more likely to score poorly on measures of school readiness. Teen Success, Inc. uses an evidence-informed program model in which first-time teen mothers meet once a week throughout the year to develop their skills, receive peer support, and connect to resources that help them reach their goals. 94% of Teen Success members have graduated high school or are on track to do so.
Judge Guerrero-Daley says that much of her success was possible due to the support she has received over the years and sees this opportunity to speak to the teen moms in Teen Success, Inc. as paying it forward. "I know they can do it because I did it," she says. "If I can inspire them with my story then it's all worth it."
About Teen Success, Inc.: Established in 2011, Teen Success, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that supports teen mothers and their children to get on the pathway to self-sufficiency and success. Teen Success, Inc. provides a peer support group program that addresses education and career, parenting, goal setting, and health and wellness. Teen Success, Inc. uses a strengths-based approach that respects, values, and harnesses the teen mother's own potential in order to shape her and her child's future. The program offers teen mothers membership into a support group in which they are mentored by professional facilitators and develop trusting, supportive relationships with their peers, who together inspire and empower them to reach their potential.
Having a caring and trusted adult in one's life is a critical component of positive youth development. It is often something that many of us take for granted, but for many of the young mother that TSI works with, the Teen Success facilitators are the only caring adults in their lives. Facilitators play a tremendous role in the Ten Success program.
TSI is pleased to honor Ana Lilia Soto from San Jose and Lupita Romo from Fresno for going above and beyond to support their members' success. Congratulations!
Empowering teen mothers, transforming lives