Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
Scenes from our recent Passages workshop in Camden, including making Valentine’s art and Valentine’s cookies!
Wednesday, February 1st, 2017
2016 Graduate Breanna Moody will speak at our MARCH 16 (new date!) Open House in Camden. Here’s a speech Breanna made last year, about her experience as a teen mom.
What if one moment in your life dictated the rest of your life? What if the decision you made could haunt you or bring joy to you for the rest of your life? What if regardless of that decision, your life suddenly became harder? I am a teen mother. I am 19 years old and the mother of a happy and healthy one year old. I am not getting into a debate on abortion, because I made a personal decision. This story is what happened when I made that decision.
Yes, I just said I am a happy mother. Let’s go behind the scenes on what it takes to be happy. It just doesn’t appear one day, it has to be earned. It takes blood, sweat, and tears, and an enormous amount of work, energy and sleepless nights to get this way. I made the right decision, but everyone needs to know that being a teen parent is harder than you think.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was a junior in high school. All my priorities consisted of getting through the next year and worrying about who I was going to be after high school. But suddenly, all of those worries seemed so small. When I told my mother I was pregnant, she wouldn’t talk to me for days. She didn’t look at me, she wouldn’t acknowledge that I was in the room anymore or answer me when I was talking. Eventually, I came to realize that my mom’s biggest fear was me failing to succeed. Would I be able to do that with a baby?
I had some work to do. I had to prove my mom wrong. I had to prove myself right. More importantly, I had to ensure this precious little human had all of her needs met. I wasn’t going to fail my baby. I’m not going to fail my baby. Being a teen parent takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. The toll it takes on relationships, family and friends is harder than you can ever believe.
When my daughter was two months old, I found out her father was cheating on me. I remember being so scared and hurt because I thought he wanted to try to be a family as much as I did. I remember him telling me that he didn’t choose this and being a dad wasn’t what he wanted. He wasn’t ready to be a dad so young. I remember crying many nights because I wasn’t ready to be a mother at 17 either, but no matter what I had to take responsibility. He made the choice not to stay, and I couldn’t make him. I wouldn’t have left, but I’m not sure I had a choice.
Something they never admit to you in high school is that nothing stays the same forever. Sometimes change is for the better, and sometimes it will tear you apart, but you can’t change it. Being a teen parent is a series of changes, and learning to deal with them is part of growing as a person and a parent.
One of those changes includes responsibility. If you’re anything like me as a teen, your mom took you to your doctor’s appointments until you were 16 and bought you feminine products because you were too embarrassed. But when my daughter was just two weeks old, she became really sick. Of course, being a new parent I didn’t know what to do. I had never had this kind of responsibility before, and all of the sudden it was up me to take care of a little baby that I created. I was beyond scared.
Where were my answers? Where was my support? Where is the easy part of all of this? 1 night in the hospital can change your whole outlook. I needed help. I worked hard to gain the trust and respect back from my family and friends. But being a teen parent is harder than you think, and you don’t always have the support you will desire.
I had some work to do. I worked hard at educating myself on how to take care of a child. I had to become responsible to balance work, life and school. I joined Wayfinder Schools in Passages Program, which became a new support system and a path to success. I constantly balance my schedule around being there for my child, providing for my child, and making myself a productive member of society.
Today’s discussion isn’t a debate on teen pregnancy. It’s not even a talk about decision making. I’m past that. Today is about thinking. Today is about the emotional toll teen pregnancy has on not just the mother, but the father, family and friends. My child and I will grow to be successful, but it is not going to be easy. If I could give any advice to teens who are sexually active, I would say to think. Think about how your actions not only affect you, but everyone around you. Think about what you are giving up and what you are gaining when you are having unprotected sex. Think about your education and goals, and what they mean to you. Having a baby is not a burden, nor is it a mistake, but it can be prevented when you are not ready. Because being a teen parent is harder than you think.
Being in the Passages program has been a wonderful experience for me and Hadley. The support is amazing and all of the staff help you to succeed in any way they can. Before I started this program, I wasn’t sure that I could get the education I needed to be successful, but having people behind you to push you and that believe in you really is an amazing thing. This program has helped me become a productive member of society, become a better mother and a better person overall. I have been involved in the Lullaby Project, have attended many workshops and volunteered thought this program, and I am so thankful to be apart of such an amazing experience.
I want to say thank you to my teacher, Erica Gates, and all of the other wonderful staff who have helped me not only reach my goals, but to go above and beyond what I could ever have dreamed. I also want to thank Erica for the help with transportation and being there when I needed someone most.
Congratulations class of 2016, WE DID IT!
Passage Project: Public Speaking
Breanna worked with a professional public speaker, Tom Dowd, to learn more about what makes effective and memorable speech. She learned about eye contact, gestures, and pacing. Breanna wrote a speech about her experience as a teen parent, emphasizing for teens to think about the consequences before they have unprotected sex. She gave a final presentation, with time for questions and answers, to the class at Zenith Alternative School, in Camden Hills.
Wednesday, February 1st, 2017