Friday, April 18, 2014

Who and What is #NoTeenShame

I am part of an amazing group of young mama who are doing work to change the way society thinks about teenage pregnancy, teenage parenting, and the way we think and carry out teenage pregnancy campaigns. 

Learn more about us!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

#NoTeenShame Thunderclap Campaign

I am part of an amazing group of former teenage mamas who have come together to create cultural change in the way society thinks of teenage parents/young parents, teenage pregnancy prevention campaigns, our children and so much more.

We have a Tumblr page that you can visit, an amazing hashtag (#NoTeenShame) that you can look through on all social media channels like Twitter and Instagram, and more.

One of our goals is to get the word out that pregnant and parenting teens and young people are capable of amazing and wonderful things, as are our children; we are doing this through a Thunder Clap campaign.

It is fairly simple to support the Thunderclap, all you do is allow it to sync with your Facebook and or Twitter and you will have supported the campaign. Once the goal is met the tweets and or post will all be posted at the same time which increases the visibility of the work of #NoTeenShame and your amazing support.

You can support the Thunder clap here or below.

#NoTeenShame Twitter Chat

Join #NoTeenShame, Tara-creator of The Young Mommy Life, and myself for a Twitter chat today! We will be discussing teenage pregnancy, teenage/young parenting, and reproductive justice on the hangtag No Teen Shame (#NoTeenShame) at 12pm EST. 

If you have not joined a twitter party before it is really easy. Simply click on the hashtag No Teen Shame (#NoTeenShame), read along, share your point of view, and be introduced to a world of support and encouragement from former teenage mothers from around the country and organizations that help support us and our families!

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Paid Writing Opportunity via Choice USA's Student Journalism Program

The following was copy and pasted from Choice USA website. These are not my original thoughts or words. 

Choice USA, a national non-profit organization, gives emerging leaders the tools they need to network, mobilize, organize, and exchange ideas to build a youth-centered reproductive justice agenda. Working with youth and students, between the ages of 15-30, we empower the diverse, upcoming generation of leaders who promote and protect reproductive freedom both now and in the future.
Student Journalism Team: A key role of Choice USA is to promote the voices of young people in the reproductive justice movement. As part of the Student Journalism program, students will have the opportunity to develop their voices, work on their writing, engage in social media, and participate in national social justice events. Participants will come away from this program with a large portfolio of written work, national visibility in the dialogue around reproductive justice, concrete skills in journalism, and the knowledge that they have
helped garner national attention for issues important to their campus, community and state.

  • Write 3 unique blog articles a month for ChoiceWords, Choice USA’s official blog, that are related to issues around sexual and reproductive health
  • Develop at least one op-ed to be published in an external source – university, local, national or online publication 
  • Conduct original reporting on state, local or campus policy for at least one article a semester 
  • Participate in monthly calls with the Student Journalism team and Choice USA staff to develop article ideas and work though challenges 
  • Receive high quality training and the opportunity to workshop writing with Choice USA staff 
  • Join the Choice USA membership conference in July with other student activists and go through comprehensive training on reproductive justice issues 
  • Receive in-depth journalism training with experts from other areas of the progressive movement
  • Showcase writing to a large audience and receive help promoting articles 
  • Attend and report from a national conference with the other student Journalists in the spring 
  • Stipend of $500 provided each semester 
  • Demonstrated dedication to reproductive justice and other social justice issues 
  • Strong writing skills 
  • A proven interest in writing, media, and journalism 
  • An interest in reporting on a variety of topics and a willingness to accept the challenge of writing new types of articles 
Student Journalism Program Applications due: April 13, 2014 
  • Ability to commit to a one year term
  • Willing and able to travel to Washington, D.C. for Choice USA’s journalism training and to another national conference. All travel accommodations provided by Choice USA
  • Able to commit an average of 2-3 hours a week on work for the blog
  • Must be a currently enrolled student at college or university in one of the following states: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Ohio, or Texas  
To Apply: By April 13, send completed application (below) and 2 writing samples via e-mail to Top candidates will be asked to do short telephone interviews April 14-25. Student Journalists will be selected by May 2

Supporting Teen Parents IS Preventing Teenage Pregnancy

I have been trying to write an article about the importance of the work which seeks to prevent teenage pregnancy also including support for pregnant and parenting teens. Without supporting us now society is failing two generations at once and continuing to make the statistics that we and our families face "true."

My latest on RH Reality Check seeks to further expand on this.

Mainstream teenage pregnancy prevention frameworks are one-sided and ineffective in preventing unintended pregnancies. While the rate of teenage pregnancies in the United States is currently at one of the lowest points in the last three decades, it is still one of the highest among industrialized nations, and the rate of unintended pregnancies among young adults between the ages of 20 and 25 is growing. With the majority of funds to prevent teenage pregnancy being spent on programs that use a scare tactic and or hard-lined approach, it’s time to consider what investing in the present and future of pregnant and parenting teens might do to disrupt the cycle of poverty and ensure stronger families.

While large organizations and local governments believe that preventing teenage pregnancy is achievable through expensive public service campaigns like New York City’s controversial $400,000 public service campaign, which do not lend themselves to quantifiable data regarding their success, these groups are failing to realize that supporting teenage parents and their families would go a long way in preventing teenage pregnancy now and in the future—such as by helping them to stay in school and complete their education, as well as access to safe, quality, and affordable day care services, health services, housing, career readiness services, and more.

One of the most commonly correlated statements about teenage pregnancy is that it leads to poverty. Although this statement has been disproven—it is poverty that is more likely to lead to teenage pregnancy—efforts that use outdated prevention frameworks and messaging prevail, often with the added impact of shaming young mothers. The reality is that poverty leads to poverty and focusing on systems of support that unshackle people from an impoverished destiny will have a major impact regardless of how young they have children.

Read the rest here.

Is support also prevention?

Let me know what you think below or on Twitter.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why I LOVE Being a Teen Mom

Last week Friday I had the amazing opportunity to be published in Vitamin W.
VITAMIN W is a women-owned media platform delivering thoughtful news for professional women, from entrepreneurship to politics to sports, health, interviews, editorials, and more. -from their "about us" page. 
My article on Vitamin W is perhaps the FIRST time I solely wrote about the benefits, positivity, and real life love I have for being a teen mom. People have told me that article is one of the best I have written so far and I can't agree more. I wrote it with a lot of love, from my reality, and for a change, I was able to put a PURELY POSITIVE and unintentionally political piece out there about why teenage motherhood rocks!

Please let me know what you think!

     Life is kind of opposite for me. I often half-jokingly say to my friends that by age 35, I will be a hot 35-year-old woman with a career, her life mildly put together, and will start my around-the-world travel plans without my daughter. They laugh and then realize that at age 35, they will probably be all of those things, too, but at the beginning of their parenthood journey. They then realize that they never thought of things that way - and that maybe I knew something they didn't when I gave birth to my daughter at fifteen. 
Mainstream discussions surrounding teenage pregnancy and teenage parenting are centered around prevention and the possible dire outcomes of teenage motherhood. Yet there is rarely room for discussion about the benefits a mother can enjoy - even her teenage years. 

     Because I had my daughter at a young age, I have experienced several events in my life that I may have not experienced and learned from as early on as I did. 

Finding and using your voice to speak up and out: 
     Being a pregnant and/or parenting teen is a very thankless job. We are often used as scapegoats for a variety of societal woes, judged, spoken down to, and used as examples for what every person should "not be." One of the side effects of this treatment is blatant disrespect or disregard for your voice as a person and parent to your very own child. With no one else around to speak up for you and your family, you must take that task on and take it on with fierceness and pride that will shock you and whomever you are addressing. 

Organizational and planning skills:
- See more HERE