Thursday, October 30, 2014

Supporting Teen Parents Doesn't Mean "Encouraging Teenage Pregnancy"

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Best of the Left Podcast and #NoTeenShame

A very popular podcast called The Best of The Left picked up the article I wrote about how the media represents teenage parents, #NoTeenShame, and The Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act!

I'm very excited that supporting pregnant and parenting teens is an idea that is reaching new and larger audiences! I wish that everyone knew how important support is and that we ALL need support and not shame.



Check out Best of the Left
Learn more about #NoTeenShame 
Read my article in RH Reality Check 
Learn and support The Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act

Listen to the podcast and let me know what you think below in the comments or on Twitter @TeenMomNYC

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act Needs Your Help

Last week I wrote about New Mexico's new law making it easier for pregnant and parenting teens who are students stay in school and continue their education. This law would help several pregnant and parenting teens across New Mexico stay in school and complete school while pregnant and or parenting. 

On a more national level The Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act legislation backed by the National Women’s Law Center and Healthy Teen Network is trying to do the same. 

Read more about the legislation:
What Does the Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act Do?
  • Authorizes necessary resources for states and school districts to ensure that pregnant and parenting students get the support and encouragement they need to stay in school and graduate college or career ready.
  • Enables states to create a state plan for pregnant and parenting students, provide professional development and technical assistance to school districts, coordinate services with other state agencies, and disseminate information, among other activities.
  • Establishes a state coordinator and school district liaisons for the education of pregnant and parenting students.
  • Requires school district grantees to provide academic support services for pregnant and parenting students; assist students in gaining access to affordable child care, early childhood education, and transportation services; engage in student outreach, recruitment and retention;provide professional development for school personnel; and revise school policies and practices to remove barriers and encourage pregnant and parenting students to continue their education.
  • Allows districts to provide parenting and life skills classes; case management services; pregnancy prevention strategies; referrals to primary health care, family planning, mental health, substance abuse, housing assistance, legal aid, mentoring, or other supportive services needed by the student; as well as to address school climate issues, including illegal discrimination against and stigmatization of pregnant and parenting students.
  • Collects and reports data on pregnant and parenting students annually, including educational outcomes, and requires a rigorous evaluation of the program.
You can sign the letter urging your local elected officials to vote on this by clicking here

Together we can make education a reality for thousands of pregnant and parenting teens across the country! 





Monday, October 27, 2014

The Media and Pregnant and Parenting Teens

I have a problem with the ways in which the media represents pregnant and parenting teens. The stories that are often shared and how they are shared seem to either show pregnant and parenting teens in a super negative light or not show us parenting at all.

From story lines that only further societal stigma and shame, to having virtually no background story as to who we were before becoming pregnant, to not even showing us juggling the several roles we do in life for our families and ourselves I'm kind of over how we are presented.

"While they might never admit it, I firmly believe the negative ways in which the media—television, film, print journalism—portrays teenage pregnancy and parenting influenced how the adults in my life treated me after I told them I was pregnant. 
When I became pregnant at 15, the adults in my life believed my life was over. In addition to explicitly stating this to me, they began to treat me differently and even stopped helping me look into colleges because they believed I would not finish high school.
These stereotypes about teen parents also affected my self-image and already low self-esteem. Thankfully, over time I was able to overcome my self-doubt and my family members got over their issues and started supporting me. But not every teen has the same experience. The way the media represents teenage pregnancy and parenting has real-life consequences and effects on teen families, including depression and poverty because of lack of support from society. By moving away from these stereotypes, and featuring more positive story lines and outcomes, people in the media can make it easier on teens to create thriving families."
Click HERE to read the rest of my thoughts on "Where's the '16, Parenting, & Okay' show.  
What do you think? Does the media have a responsibility to show more well rounded portrayals of pregnant and parenting teens?
Let me know below in the comments on on Twitter at @TeenMomNYC  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Law Helps Teen Moms Stay in School


New Mexico has passed laws that make finishing your education after having a baby much easier! 

Attending school as a parent is difficult and having schools discriminate you even more hard to stay in and finish school however, because of advocacy from teenage families and people and organizations that support us, New Mexico's Parental Leave Law can help change this for teenage parents in New Mexico.
"It would not have surprised many had Karina Ramirez not graduated from high school last school year. As a senior at Valencia High in Los Lunas, New Mexico, Ramirez gave birth to a son. “When I got pregnant even my family said, ‘OK so she’s not graduating, she’s not going to be anyone in this life,’” the 19-year-old said recently.  
Two weeks after Ramirez’s baby was born, she says a school administrator called and left a message with her parents: “They told me I was dis-enrolled because I missed too many days.”"
Read more about Karina's story and the new law here
Read about your FEDERAL rights as a pregnant and or parenting teen here.

Teen Mom Zine: PLAN C: Quit the Shame, Blame & Judgement - Young Parents Speak


California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CL4RJ) is a super dope California based organization that works with amazing teenage families in California.
The young mothers they work with have been working hard on a Zine (which is kind of like a journal meets a magazine) about the life, beauty, hardships, and annoyances from stigma and shame teenage mother and out families have to deal with.

"PLAN C: Quit the Shame, Blame & Judgement - Young Parents Speak," is written by and for young parents. A great tool for allies and young parents like, the zine pushes back and challenges stereotypes of young families in our communities through the shared experiences of young parents in California
We invite you to like and share widely!!! Let the YPLC know they are making a difference with their work!

To download & or read ---> http://bit.ly/PLANC_Zine

Check out the Zine and let me and CL know what you think!