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



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Catherine Ferguson School Applications are Open for Teen Parents

Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit, Michigan is currently accepting application for enrollment.

"Catherine Ferguson Academy is a public charter school of choice for pregnant and parenting teens that provides a holistic approach to educational services. The school’s history is rich in providing students with opportunities to apply academic skills in real world settings so that learning is relevant, meaningful and memorable." 

Catherine Ferguson school has fought to keep their school open several times after officials tried shutting down this important school for teenage parents and their families.

If you are or know a teenage parent in and or around Detroit looking for a place to continue their education you can direct them towards Catherine Ferguson.

Registration form

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sea Change Paid Writing Opportunity


Shape the Conversation: Submit to the Reproductive Justice Reader

Have you or someone you know written about giving birth? Having an abortion? Being a teen parent? Sea Change is looking to partner with writers who are willing to write new articles or re-publish already written pieces about the intersection of their identity and their reproductive experiences. These articles will be published in our RJ Reader and read by hundreds of people nationwide.

In the coming year, Sea Change will engage people across the country in open and curious discussions about stigmatized reproductive experiences with the goal of shifting prejudicial attitudes. We will use the RJ reader to catalyze conversations about abortion, adoption, miscarriage, single parenthood, teen pregnancy, infertility and more.

In our pilot project, participants noted that the book we used, Choice, was a great start to the conversation. Many also noted that there were over two dozen narratives, yet not enough stories that reflected the race, class, and gender diversity they saw in their everyday lives. Our Reader will address these concerns while maintaining the integral theme of Choice: that every person has a story to tell about their reproductive life.

Our new reader will be composed of fifteen to eighteen first-person, non-fiction accounts of reproductive experiences. We are currently seeking previously published or new stories to include. Specifically, we’re seeking short non-fiction about the intersection of reproductive health, rights, and justice with racism, immigration status, religion, sexuality, and gender identity.

Articles should be between 2000 and 4000 words, non-fiction, and told in the first person. Authors can remain anonymous if they so choose. To submit, please email Sea Change Deputy Director Steph Herold at Steph@SeaChangeProgram.org with the following information:
  • Your full name, email address, and phone number
  • Your submission as a Microsoft Word document, attached to the email, double spaced
  • Please state whether the piece has been published before, the publication, and provide a link if possible
There is a stipend of $100 per accepted piece. The deadline for submissions is March 21, 2014. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Generation Hope Application Cycle is OPEN for Teen Parents

Generation Hope is accepting applications for their 2014-2015 mentorship cycle!
Applications are open for both scholars (teen parent students) and sponsors (the mentors).
Application deadline is APRIL 1st! 

Below is the information directly from Generation Hope's website for scholars:
Click here for the application

"Are you a teen mother or teen father living in the Washington, D.C. area who is planning to attend college next year or is currently attending college?  Then we want you to apply for the Generation Hope Scholar Program!
Every year, Generation Hope recruits a new class of Generation Hope Scholars. Each Generation Hope Scholar receives up to $2,400 per year in college tuition support and a mentor who will be committed to seeing you through to your college graduation.

REQUIREMENTS

To be eligible, a student MUST:
  • Be a teen parent (defined as having a child by the age of 19) and be age 25 or younger at the time of application submission
  • Be raising or actively involved in their child’s life (defined by regular support and care of your child)
  • Be attending - or planning to attend - college starting the Fall 2014 semester in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area (Washington, DC, Maryland or Northern Virginia) and seeking an undergraduate two or four-year degree
  • Have a minimum 2.5 grade point average
  • Be a US Citizen or legal US Resident
  • Submit a copy of their Student Aid Report (SAR) or proof of FAFSA submission. How do I apply for aid?
  • Be planning to take a minimum of 6 credits each semester

PROCESS FOR BECOMING A GENERATION HOPE SCHOLAR:

  1. Complete the application (open now, closes April 2014)
  2. Submit two letters of recommendation
  3. Submit an official and recent school transcript including cumulative grade point average or GED certificate
  4. Submit a copy of Student Aid Report (SAR) or proof of FAFSA submission
  5. Meet with Program staff for interview
  6. Complete mandatory mentee training in July 2014
Questions?  Please contact Caroline Griswold, Program Manager, at applications@supportgenerationhope.org or (202) 642-5649." 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Graduation MADNESS

May 27th has been circled, highlighted, and counted down to on my calendar for about a little over a month now. 
May 27th, the day I will FINALLY graduate college and join the rank of "the graduated," the day I will walk across the stage and enjoy my 15 seconds of graduation fame, the day that marks my never having to step foot into another undergraduate course again… or so I thought! 

First, it was bought to my attention that the symbolic and tradition of walking across the graduation stage during graduation was NOT a tradition followed at Baruch. Instead we sit for a two hour lecture from all of the people we rarely ever saw in college (you know the deans, deans dean, and other people who decide when to raise tuition and change curriculum's in the middle of you college career but rarely ever speak to you in person, yup them!) THEY get to talk for two hours but WE, the graduates who will only graduate from college ONCE, don't walk across the stage because "there isn't enough time." As my dad put it, it seems more like the deans are graduating than the actual students. 

After hearing this a was PISSED! I felt robbed (still do) and announced that I would most likely NOT be going to me two hour lecture "graduation." 

THEN, despite applying for graduation numerous times, I kept getting email notifications that I "hadn't signed up for graduation yet." I literally signed up 3 to 4 times but somehow the office never saw the form? So I decide that the 16th time would be a charm. On my way to apply AGAIN I get THE email, the email no one ever wants, the email which will send you into a crying, frantic, manic mess, the email that told me I WAS NOT GOING TO really GRADUATE! 

Yup, that's right, the email that told me I was 2 credits short, despite ALL my academic advisers telling me otherwise, and that come May 27th I WOULD NOT really be graduating. As you can imagine I was a MESS! I cried, a was angry, I ran around trying to prove the email was wrong but I never did. Instead I was literally told "Oh, dear, it seems we have miscalculated your credits this whole time. You do need 2 more credits, it was our mistake but you should have told us. You will need to come back in the summer for one more course so you can really graduate, it's no big deal, its just one class." 

I couldn't (and still can't) believe how they think miscalculating a students credits, telling them two months into the semester, and that "it's no big deal' is okay, is acceptable, and is normal. They kept telling me that I could take part in the "ceremony" (the two hour dean lecture) as if that made me feel better. 

Because of their error I now have to find a way to pay for the summer course I didn't budget for, the childcare I did not budget for, and all of the other related cost of attending school in the summer because they "messed up but it's not a big deal, I can just come back in the summer." 

After much clarification, or at least the allusion of clarification, I have purchased my cap and gown for graduation. I have continued my anxious countdown to May 27th and will be returning to school in the summer for the last course they say I need.