National Scholarship Month – Building the Resilience of Our Teenage Mothers
Each year, Families First offers scholarships to help our students in their transition to college or post-secondary education. These funds allow the families of the students to cover the main costs, including tuition, books, travel expenses and accommodation. To celebrate National Scholarship Month, we recognize this year’s recipients Brenda Guillen and Nelis Pereira who both participated in our Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Program (TAPP) which connects young mothers aged 13-19 who live in low-income families with the unique resources to meet their emotional, psychological and physical needs. These funds help our mothers build their resilience and reach their full potential.
âOur mothers want their children to thrive. They want to make decisions in the best interests of their children. They really want to be good parents, âsaid Michelle Brock-Coleman, Adolescent Support Specialist with Families First TAPP.
Our programs aim to provide new moms with the tools, connections and resources to build their resilience and ensure they can handle stress and challenges as they pursue college or post-secondary education. A key element in helping these young mothers to thrive is access to Families First behavioral health services. Throughout the counseling process, TAPP takes a holistic approach that goes beyond the young mother to include her family and the father of the child. The engagement of clients’ parents encourages them to be involved in the experiences with their children. We know that teenage dads also play a vital role in the development of their children. This focus on support is an essential part of the counseling process and increases the chances of success for young mothers.
âFamilies First has helped me by giving advice about my baby, how to look after him and how to teach him certain things for his age. With the school, Families First motivated me to continue my studies and to always be positive. They taught me how to learn to face challenges and they always support me, âsaid Nelis, who received the Marybeth Leamer Fellowship and the Carol Dunlap Reiser Fellowship.
During COVID, TAPP found ways to expand its resources to further help new moms. Lots of moms missed out on the community connection, so the TAPP team got creative and started dropping off items for moms and having social distance door and aisle visits to help them feel connected to the community. outside world during the pandemic.
âI am blessed to be with Families First. They helped me and my parents through difficult times. Since I was young, it has been difficult for me to understand motherhood, âsaid Brenda, Carol Dunlap Reiser scholarship recipient. âThe Families First team also helped me learn to take care of myself and deal with emotions from the past. “
The Carol Dunlap Reiser Fellowship is in memory of former Board Chair Carol Dunlap Reiser. This scholarship is awarded to two young women from Families First programs who will each receive a scholarship to use for tuition, training, books or other education-related needs. The Marybeth Leamer Scholarship is awarded to a youth in a Families First program who is a high school student and aims to help with tuition, training, books, or other items to move on to college education or post-secondary.
When this year’s scholars look to the future, they are focused on improving their future and that of their children.
Nelis notes: âI want to help a lot of children. I am looking for a dental school. I just want to learn things that will be useful to me later in life. I want to be able to give my daughter what she wants and what she needs.
âI want to be a midwife, but if I can’t be a midwife, I want to be a pediatrician. I want to show my daughter that although I got pregnant at a very young age, I have been successful in life, âexplained Brenda.
Join Families First this holiday season to help our families enjoy the holidays! Our Adopt-a-Family family helps bring smiles and holiday cheer into the homes of our families! Thanks to Macy’s for your support in spreading the holiday cheer. Join us today as a wishmaker: Donation campaigns for families (roonga.com)