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We Are Everything

15 May

When I started Teen Mama, my idea was that I’d be creating something that a) was badly needed and b) did not yet exist. I kept saying that my site was these two things because it provides support to teens who choose to parent, but you know what? That’s not precisely true. There are loads of web sites and organizations that offer support to parenting teens. It’s just… most of them also tell you how they want you to think.

I’m thrilled every time I hear about a new organization that helps teen moms, whether the people who run it worship Jesus or purple Martian men — doesn’t matter to me as long as they’re doing the right stuff. Many, maybe even most, of the organizations I link to on the More Support page are religion (more specifically, Christianity) based in some way. The problem isn’t that these prescriptive resources are there; it’s that they’re almost all that’s there.

Teen mothers shouldn’t have to be taught a particular religion, or any religion at all, in order to get help. The religious tone of the majority of organizations out there is just another thing that keeps us in our ever-shrinking box.

Teen moms aren’t just one thing; they’re everything. They are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, and every other religion or lack thereof in existence. They are pro-life, and they are pro-choice. They are Republicans, and they are Democrats, and they are neither. They believe in abstinence until marriage, or they believe in having sex whenever you feel like you’re ready, or they’re not sure yet, and that’s okay too. They see marriage as the way to make the best of their situation, or they see it as a way of making an already difficult situation worse. They chose to get pregnant, or maybe it wasn’t a choice at all.

Teen Mama Inc is there for all of them.

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Colleges Want Teen Moms

21 Feb

If you wonder if any colleges actively work to create positive environments for teen moms, the answer is yes. In a College Confidential forum post dated August 18, 2008, Sally Rubenstone, a professional college counselor, shared information about schools with strong support systems for teen moms.

“Lately I’ve received a growing number of queries from teenage moms who are looking for a four-year college program with on-campus housing for mother and child(ren). Although many colleges and universities offer special housing for students with children, my mail is usually from those seeking schools that provide other forms of support as well, such as year-round housing, free child care, parenting seminars, etc.

The option I recommend most often is the Women With Children Program at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA, which offers not only housing (year-round!) but also ongoing support and special financial aid targeting this population. (Babies must be at least 20 months). See Wilson College: Women with Children Program

To read more of her recommendations, check out the rest of her post.