Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps

Civil Liberties and Public Policy is:
CLPP is a national reproductive rights and justice organization dedicated to educating, mentoring, and inspiring new generations of advocates, leaders, and supporters. Combining activism, organizing, leadership training, and reproductive rights movement building, CLPP promotes an inclusive agenda that advances reproductive rights and health, and social and economic justice.
They are currently seeking paid summer interns. The internship program information can be found below.
The Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps is a paid summer internship program that places undergraduate students from around the country at reproductive rights and social justice organizations for ten-week summer internships. 
The RRASC program defines reproductive rights broadly to include movements advocating for human rights, economic justice, racial equality, queer rights, immigrants' rights, access to health services, and youth empowerment among others.  Our partner organizations span the country and work with and for various communities.  Since our program started in 1999, CLPP has placed over 350 interns at more than 100 organizations. 
RRASC internships are substantive with interns participating in organizing, advocacy, direct service, community health, education, research, public policy and more.  All interns receive a $3,300 stipend and complete an intensive internship training at the annual CLPP conference. 
Read more about RRASC, confirm your eligibility, read about the work of former RRASC interns, browse our host organizations, or apply to the 2015 program. 
Find out more about the program and apply:
Application 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

YA-YA Network seeking youth leaders!


The YA-YA Network is seeking youth leaders starting in January!
The YA-YA Network is looking for passionate and motivated young people interested in activism and social justice. We are seeking youth (15-19 years old) that want to learn how to take on a leadership position in a variety of social justice movements by building skills needed to make change happen. 
About Us: The Ya-Ya Network is a youth-driven social justice organization focusing on providing youth with alternatives to joining the military. We are committed to supporting young people, especially from marginalized communities, to become leaders in the movements for social, economic and racial justice. We are actively anti-racist, feminist, and allies to the LGBTQIA* community. Find out more about us at www.yayanetwork.org or visit our Facebook page.  
Program Description: We begin with political education and anti-oppression workshops. We will examine root causes of the problems in our communities and the ways people have organized to make change happen. You will get the chance to work with your peers to build your communication, organization, and activist skills. You will be able to share lessons learned and work together to build a more just world. Other opportunities include: outreach, tabling, speaking on panels and events, and facilitating workshops for other groups. 
Program Hours: The program meets throughout the school year, meeting after school on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30PM to 6:30PM, and Saturdays from 11AM to 3PM. Summer hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays from 12-6PM. Additional activities, like meetings, films, conferences, rallies, & protests, will occasionally be scheduled outside of program hours.Upon completing all requirements of the program, including regular attendance, you will receive a stipend. Train passes and lunch will be provided during summer hours. 
Location: Workshops are given at our space, located centrally in Manhattan, accessible by most train lines. We are located at 224 W 29 ST, 14th floor. 

Think YA-YA is the space to cultivate strengths and drive one's passion for social justice? Apply or forward to someone you may see fit for just this!
 How to apply?Fill out the application below! For any questions or concerns e-mail applyatyaya@gmail.com.  
Application deadline is January 9, 2015! 
This application is our way to get to know you. Share about yourself! After processing your responses, we’ll ask you to come in for an in-person interview.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Push Back Seeks Contributing Writers






Want to write about your experiences as a teen parent for a safe and friendly site? Check out ThePushBack.org, if you like what you see and want to be a part of their contributing writers contact them via the parent site,MassTeenPregnancy.org, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram




Thursday, November 6, 2014

MIDLIFE TEEN MAMA TRAUMA, BY NINA PACKEBUSH via HIP MAMA

I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately on life and what my mamahood means to me and how it impacts the ways in which I move through life. 

Hip Mama, a magazine I contribute to, published a piece from a fellow teenage mama who is now a grandma and this paragraph really resonated with me, 

"Becoming a mama before I became an adult shaped who I am, and although there are a lot of scars associated with that, those scars make me who I am today. Those scars are evidence that I’m damn strong. Those scars have left me with a deep empathy for other people and an ability to creatively survive and thrive. I’m a queer. I’m a writer. I’m a granny. I’m a wanna-be-urban farmer and an unschooler. I’m a lot of things, but mostly I’m a teen mama and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, not even a good credit score and the ability to go the hospital in rumpled sweats and a tank top."

You can read the full article about teenage pregnancy, having a child who experiences a teenage pregnancy, and how the ways in which people treated you while you were a pregnant and parenting teen still stay with you as you grow older, the good and the not so good.

Thank you Nina for writing this. This teen mama appreciates it very much and makes me realize even more why #NoTeenShame is super important.

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!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Domestic Violence Comes in Several Different Ways

October is Domestic Violence awareness month. 

Domestic Violence awareness month seeks to raise awareness about how prevalent domestic violence [DV](also referred to as dating violence and or intimate partner violence [IPV]) is. 
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 in 3 women are affected by domestic violence worldwide. In the United States the number is approximately 1 in 5. 

When most people think about DV/IPV we think about physical violence only and do not realize that DV/IPV comes in many different ways and forms. My latest article on MommyNoire explains how focusing the conversation on purely physical acts of violence is narrow and dangerous. 

"TMZ releasing the video of Ray Rice knocking out his then fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer was catalyst for public discussions on domestic violence (DV), which can also be referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV).
However, these conversations are very narrow. They focus primarily on direct physical violence through a form of direct impact. Focusing the conversation on this very narrow impression of what DV/IPV is omits the different forms that DV/IPV can take which include but are not limited to emotional, economic, psychological, and sexual abuse. These forms of abuse are just as violent, hurtful, difficult to leave, and can be precursors to possible physical violence. 
Click through to the link to read more of the article.
 See more at: mommynoire.com

Please note that computer activity can be monitored (by abusers), click through at your own safety. If you feel that you are experiencing domestic violence and or intimate partner violence you can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Monday, October 6, 2014

T. Howard Foundation internship Program

The T. Howard Foundation internship Program is accepting applications! The purpose and mission of the T. Howard Foundation is, " to diversify the media and entertainment industry by increasing the representation of minority young men and women within the industry."

Internship Program Eligibility & How to Apply
The Internship Program is open to minority students enrolled full-time at accredited 4-year colleges/universities in the United States, and is open to ALL academic majors.
The Foundation defines minority students as those who self-identify as African-American/Black, Asian/Asian-American, Latino/Hispanic, Multi-Racial, Native American, Pacific Islander or South Asian.
Eligibility Requirements
-  Minority sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student at an accredited 4-year
   U.S. college/university (must have completed 24 credit hours by December 1)
-  U.S. citizen or permanent resident
-  Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8

-  Available to work full-time from June-August (summer internship program only)
The Application Process
The Internship Program application is now available.
Early Application Deadline:  Friday, October 31, 11:59 p.m. ET
Final Application Deadline:  Monday, December 1, 11:59 p.m. ET
The competitive path to becoming a T. Howard Foundation intern consists of two phases:
Phase I: Online Application Completion and Review
Phase II: Interview
More information how to apply. To apply click here.
 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Trouble with Saying "I Beat Teenage Pregnancy"

This excerpt of an article from URGE writer Robyn makes me SO happy! More and more people seem to be realizing and stating that us- teenage parents- are NOT terrible people and that we deserve respect too.
Read it and let me know what you think.

I celebrated my 20th birthday a few weeks ago, and, like many Millennials on a holiday, I struggled to find the perfect Facebook status to capture the moment.
I could have followed in the footsteps of my peers, who have overwhelmingly posted on their respective birthdays some variation of, “I beat teen pregnancy!”
The phrase is so common that a friend of mine actually yelled it to me when we crossed paths on my special day—“Happy Birthday, Robyn! And congrats, you beat teen pregnancy!”
But is teen pregnancy really something that needs to be “beat”?
This terminology implies that teen pregnancy is akin to diseases, like cancer or addiction.
When my peers say, “I beat teen pregnancy,” they say it in the same proud tone and in the same congratulatory manner than one might say, “I beat lung cancer!”
The root of the problem lies in the stigma surrounding teen pregnancy. Our society so looks down upon it that to many people, avoiding teen pregnancy is actually similar to recovering from an illness.
It’s ironic, though. 
To read the rest of the article click here.

What do you think? Is Robyn right or wrong? Let me know in the comments. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Advocacy Training Via URGE

I highly encourage teen parents who are in Alabama, Ohio, and the Bay Area in California to apply to this opportunity via URGE.

"We are excited to host 3 Reproductive Justice Leadership Institutes (RJLI)  this fall! RJLIs introduces students throughout the country to the reproductive justice movement, build networks of student activists in our priority states, and assist students who are interested in creating or strengthening a campus reproductive justice chapter.
The Leadership Institute is a weekend-long conference and is open to young people (age 18-25) throughout the state.
The weekend includes conversations about reproductive justice at the intersections of race, class, gender, and faith, the political landscape in the state and strategies for campus organizing. Twenty-five students will be accepted to each Institute. URGE covers the cost of travel, lodging and most meals.
Alabama, October 24-26 (http://bit.ly/2014ALrjli)Ohio, November 7-9 (http://bit.ly/URGEohioDeadline: Friday, September 26, 2014
California (Bay Area), November 21-23 (http://bit.ly/2014CArjli
Deadline: Friday, October 3th, 2014"

PAID Internship Opportunity for High School Students at the Brooklyn Museum

Teen mom? Love art? Want a PAID internship?! Apply to the internship at the Brooklyn Museum!

(Text below is taken from the Brooklyn Museum website)

"In this paid internship, learn about art and art history with other teens from around New York City. As a Museum Apprentice, you'll go behind the scenes at the Brooklyn Museum throughout the school year to develop your own Museum tours and teach camp groups over the summer.

You will:
  • Meet curators and learn about the Museum's collections
  • Meet education staff and learn how to teach from objects in the Museum's collections
  • Develop and teach tours for children in summer camp groups
  • Assist with family programs like Arty Facts and Hands-On Art
  • Learn about education programming in a museum setting
  • Build your communication, planning, and teaching skills
  • Strengthen your sense of teamwork, time management, and responsibility
  • Be able to request a letter of recommendation upon successful completion of the program
  • Get paid $8.00 an hour through December 2014, then $8.75 an hour through August 2015. Returning Apprentices will be paid $9.00 an hour through December 2014, then $9.75 an hour through August 2015. Work up to 212 hours for the year!
To apply, you need to be 1) a high school student, 2) at least fourteen years old, and 3) able to commit to the activities below, which take place October 2014 through August 2015.
During the 2014–15 school year:
Wednesdays: 3 meetings a month, 5–7 p.m.
Saturdays: 2 Target First Saturday sessions, 4:45–9 p.m.
Sundays: 2 Arty Facts workshops, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

During summer 2015:
Wednesdays: 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Thursdays: 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Fridays: 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Submit your application between June 1 and October 12, 2014. Interviews take place the last weekend of October 2014. Have questions?Email us."

PAID Internship Opportunity for High School Students at the Brooklyn Museum  APPLY HERE!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

PAID Youth Internship with New York Civil Liberties Union

The New York Civil Liberties Union, the organization that has this AMAZING guide to teen parents rights in New York, is looking for youth ages 14-21 for a PAID internship! Deadline to apply is Friday, September 26th! 
 (Below is from the NYCLU)
As the 2014-15 school year begins, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is once again seeking teens to join the Teen Activist Project (TAP)! The NYCLU’s paid youth program works on a wide range of social justice issues and is ideal for students interested in health care, law, social justice, and community organizing. Please consider sharing this opportunity with youth in your networks.

TAP meets weekly in lower Manhattan, and brings together teens from all over the NYC area to discuss civil liberties issues, such as students’ rights, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, freedom of speechhealthcare access rights – and more. TAP members work together to plan and execute a project on a social justice issue of their choice; last year’s final project was a photo essay about activism around NYC. The program offers students opportunities to meet and work with professionals on civil liberties issues, lobby city and state legislators, sharpen their public speaking skills, teach their peers important information about their rights, and much more.

To qualify to participate, applicants must be 14 to 21 years old and in a New York City high school or a GED program. Our meetings are held at the NYCLU’s offices at 125 Broad Street in Manhattan and take place on Mondays from 4:15 to 6:15 PM. Youth who join are expected to remain in the program for the length of the school year. TAP members receive $9.00 per hour or community service hours.

If you know youth who may be interested in applying to TAP, please pass on the attached application or direct them to apply via our website at www.nyclu.org/tap. Please be aware that this is a competitive position and we have a policy of selecting no more than two students from the same school or program.
Applications are due in our office by Friday, September 26th. Late applications may be disqualified, and interviews will take place the week of October 6th or 13th.
PDF application HERE 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#NoTeenShame Educational Justice Chat

It took me YEARS to find out that teen parents have federal legal rights to continue their education before, during, and after becoming pregnant and or parents.

Join #NoTeenShame to talk about the rights you have as a teen parent in school.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#RespectYoungFams Twitter Chat by Young Women United

August 25th is New Mexico's day in recognition of young parents! Yes, you read that right WE HAVE OUR OWN DAY in New Mexico. To honor our day and as a way to connect with more teen and young parents from around the country as well as organizations from around the country that support us, there will be a Twitter chat.
The Twitter chat is being organized by Young Women United and will have organizations and teen parents from around the country joining in. 

Please mark your calendars and join us on August 25th at 12pm PST/1pm MST/ 3pm EST time at  the hashtag #RespectYoungFams to join! 


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Condom Campaign! Safer Sex for all!


The Great American Condom Campaign is a youth-led grassroots movement to reduce unintended pregnancies and the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections by normalizing condom use on college and university campuses. 

Students from across the country apply to become SafeSites, individual condom distribution points, and upon selection receive a box of 500 Trojan condoms to distribute to their peers. SafeSites are also tasked with educating their peers about safer sex and advocating on campus and within their community for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.

In the past academic year, 2,600 SafeSites distributed more than 1,300,000 condoms to students on 1,234 campuses. SafeSites were established in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

We receive more applications than we can accept, so make sure your application stands out! Be clear about how you will distribute condoms and why you want to be part of the GACC. To learn more about the GACC and the awesome work of previous SafeSites, go to the GACC Facebook page.

Applications to be a Fall Semester SafeSite are open through August 15th, 2014. It only takes 10 minutes to fill out an application, so start now!
Do it for your country."

The above content is originally from Advocates for Youth. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

YTH Seeks a PAID Fall Intern

An awesome organization that I am part of YTH is accepting applications for a Communications and Programs Intern for the fall. 
This position will be based in Oakland, will be part-time and is compensated. 

Apply here! 

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Develop and post social media content on YTH’s social media platforms.
  • Monitor and track social media metrics and develop monthly report with recommendations.
  • Write blog posts about relevant and timely youth, tech, and health ideas, resources and events.
  • Support the team on communications and program collateral development including newsletter content, presentation design and content, and event-related outreach.
  • Provide day-to-day office support as needed.
  • All other duties assigned.

Required Experience and Qualifications:

  • Strong working knowledge of social media and associated digital tools. Word, WordPress, Excel, PowerPoint, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn and basic HTML.
  • Strong writing and editing skills.
  • Comfort with reproductive and sexual health content and speaking with a youthful audience.
  • Ability to handle detailed work accurately, thoughtfully and quickly.
  • Ability to work independently within established guidelines.
  • Discretion, discernment, sound judgment, and positive interpersonal communications skills are key.
  • Organized and flexible individual, able to manage multiple tasks and changing priorities.
  • A sense of humor.
Position Hours: Minimum of 15 hours/week.
Compensation: Generous stipends available as well as the possibility of academic credit.
Reports to: The YTH Programs Manager and the YTH Executive Director.
To Apply: Please send in a cover letter, resume, and two references by August 20th.

 The deadline is August 20th! Apply here! 

 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Living my Dream With My Best Friend

Yesterday I woke up very stressed and overwhelmed.



I don't do doing nothing very well.
I freak out actually.
I freak out and I get down on myself and feel like I'm wasting time and not doing the best I can. Yes- even though I should be relaxing because I'm on vacation and it's the summer.

I decided that the best way to get over my self inflicted "do something with you life" party was to get out of the house and do something.

That something was the beach with Leilani.

First, I got all dressed up and cute because that always helps when I'm feeling, bluh.
I googled the closest beach.
Grabbed some towels and left.

We dropped our things in the sand and ran to the water as soon as we could.

The waves were HUGE (perfect for me... not so perfect for Leilani) so we stayed close to the shore and played around in the waves.
We held hands when a wave was coming and Leilani held on to my waist when the HUGE waves would come crashing down on us. "You're the best mommy ever!" she said as she smiled up to me, sand spattered across her face, hair a mess, and the sun in her eyes.

The waves kept coming and even though she asked me to not make her go out to "where my feet can't touch because it scares me" she asked to venture further out into the water and so we did.

We stayed on the beach a bit longer, played in the sand, talked, and left.

I decided to take the scenic route (aka a bit lost and a bit curious to see more of the city) so we drove down a coastal road along side the beach and marveled at the mountains, hills, ocean, and overall beautiful scenery. We couldn't figure out how to make the radio in the car work so we sang songs to one another and we talked about the latest episode of Korra.

Like the huge waves that knocked us over a few minutes before, the realization that I am living one of the goals and dreams I set out for myself in life hit me.
It hit me hard.

I looked over at the passenger I had in the car and could not think of a more deserving and amazing person to share these moments with.

My baby girl.
My baby girl who I held in my arms at 15 scared as hell and full of shame.
My baby girl who has seen me go from working the closing shift at Taco Bell to speaking in from the the Supreme Court.
My baby girl who has loved me no matter what-even when I tell her to go to bed early.
My baby girl; the one who many people said would ruin my life because I had her young and or that I would ruin hers because I had her young.
My baby girl who makes me the best me I never knew I could be.

I'm literally living out my dreams.
How the hell can I be stressed?






Friday, July 18, 2014

Weight Gain and Crop Tops

It is no surprise I have gained weight recently. I've gone through what I call second puberty and too much stress within the last 4 months, both of these things combined resulted in weight gain for me.

For those of you who do not know second puberty is basically going through puberty again after your initial preteen/teen puberty stage. My hips, butt, thighs, and breast have all gotten bigger. None of my pants fit anymore, the little dance I do to get my jeans over my thighs no longer works, and up until last week I could not remember the last time I tried on jeans and they actually fit. 

As I cleaned out my closet I realized that my H &M business casual slacks with the zipper on the side that have accompanied me to many visits in Washington, D.C. and conferences have no chance in hell of ever getting past my knees again. 

Then school and life came at me super fast (and strangely enough slowly at the same time) the beginning part of this year.
I was in my final semester of college, on the verge of failing, found out I would not be really graduating, Leilani was yet again having problems with her terrible school and coming home with panic attacks, I had no time to eat between traveling, homework, parenting, and trying to sleep so I started putting on weight. 

At first I freaked out. I kept telling myself I HAVE TO WORK OUT! I HAVE TO SO I WONT BE FAT (again)

But I really and truly did not have the energy to work out in large part because I wasn't really eating enough food and because I was mostly running on no sleep and too many cups of coffee (which my caffeine sensitive body can not deal with). If I had any extra time to work out it would (and did go) to me completing a school assignment, playing Guess Who? with Leilani, or sleeping. 

Between second puberty, life stress, and slowly reintroducing eggs and fish into my diet I gained weight. 

Then I woke up one morning and told myself who gives a DAMN!? Yes,  I need to work out, not to be skinny but to be healthy. There is no logical reason as to why, at the age of 24 with no real medical health problems my joints should be hurting and going up the stairs leaves me without breath. 

But as far as working out so I can be skinny, I really don't give a damn. 

My butt and hips are big, thats just what it is and to be honest I've always liked my butt so I'm not about to run on a treadmill for hours to lose it, my boobs have been through the ringer for my age so I am happily welcoming some growth there too, and as far as people who say "well what about men, won't you start dating soon?" I don't want to date a shallow minded guy who is more worried about my pant size than I am. 

So I say it loudly and proudly,  I will not be apologizing for my weight gain with my words or my clothes. This is the summer of bikinis and crop tops! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Travels!

This summer Leilani and I will be living out one of our biggest dreams and goals we have together, TRAVELING!!

I saved up money for SO long to be able to travel with her after graduation. 
We have always wanted to travel but I really felt that I owed it to her since she stayed in the terrible school she was in for several years, endured less than perfect babysitters, and heard "Not now I have homework" or "Sorry no bed time story tonight mommy really has to work on this assignment." She has been so patient, with me loving me unconditionally the whole time, and always being there to keep me on track (even though she didn't know that's what she was doing) so I had to reward her and I had to reward myself! 

Being a student parent from 15 years old to 24 years old was not easy so it warranted a big reward. 

This summer's travel plans will be: 

source
Miami was a me trip. I went for a friend's birthday weekend and had a blast and was able to finally get into the ocean!
Next up (where we currently are)
source
Being that we use to live here and she's been to the theme parks several times there will be no theme parks this time around. Just good ol' fashion hanging out.

Heeeeeyyy, we going to Calaaaayyyee (Cali) 
source
I am SO excited for California!
We will fly into San Diego, possibly stay a night in Los Angeles, road trip to San Francisco and Sacramento with my little sister and be on the beach most of the time in San Diego!
After California we will go to my home country, mi patria, the Dominican Republic! 
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RIGHT ON THE BEACH! 

I AM SO EXCITED! I CAN NOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT!
All of this is possible because of the family I can't give Leilani (and saving money for so long!) Having family and friends who are like family all over the country is a great gift and a huge money saver when traveling. 

It may not be backpacking across the continent of Africa like she wanted to do, but it's what we can do and what we look forward to doing this summer! 
I will take lots of pictures and upload them as often as I can however, I have to admit I am really looking forward to also enjoying the time and being present in each place with and with our electronics. 

Be sure to like Teen Mom NYC on Facebook and follow me on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with us while we travel! 

Long live the summer! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Young Mother's D.R.E.A.M scholarship in NYC

LAST DAY! APPLY TODAY!!

If you know of any HS Senior (entering their Senior year this Fall) that would be a candidate for the scholarship program POSSE, please please send an email to geneva@youngmothersdream.org! Today is the FINAL day for submissions Great opportunity for a full 4-year college scholarship... Please share & recommend! Thank you

Via A Young Mother's D.R.E.A.M.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Life After College Ramblings

Life after college is... a lot. 

I feel accomplished, scared, relieved, worried, and scared all at once. (Did I say scared twice?) 

I don't have a full time job yet. 
My writing took a hit first because of school and then because of my emotions so I felt completely lost for a while. A writer feeling like they can't write is like feeling like you can't breathe. 

Now that I finished my last last class of undergrad... I'm really done. 

The other day I was asked by someone what do you do? I kind of freaked out a bit. My go to answer is was "I'm a full time student" usually followed with a smile, genuine or forced depending on how I felt about school at the time, but now... I'm just me. 

Don't get me wrong I think just me is amazing. 
I love just me. 
It seems for like the first time in my life I can hear my thoughts a bit more clearly, me coming into myself is becoming less work (still work but it doesn't seem so damn hard anymore), I'm more confident in my abilities, and overall I'm very excited. 

School and college specifically was such a large part of my life and having it not there is weird... 

For now I'm enjoying my time. Looking for a full time. 
Allowing my creativity to speak to me. 

<3 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

8 Lies We Need to Stop Spreading About Teen Pregnancy via Mic

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a fellow writer and friend who writes for Mic (previously known as Policy Mic) 

She was writing and article about the lies society needs to stop telling about teenage pregnancy and wanted to know how I felt about the specific lie that teenage parents are 'tarnished goods.' Part of my answer is, 
"The truth is that teen mothers are just like many other new mothers. Parenting is novel and challenging, but they too want their children to lead great lives.
"We are contributing members of society," Malone, 24, said. "Maya Angelou was a teen mom. The MVP of the NBA is a child of a teen mom. LeBron James was a teen dad. Our president is the son of a teen mom. The idea that we are tarnished goods is simply not true."

Some other seven lies include, teenage pregnancy rates are going up, young love is not real, and many more. Click here to read the full article and what teen moms from around the country have to say about these lies. 


What do you think is the biggest lie about teenage parents? Tell me below in the comments.