Teen pregnancy is a nationwide problem, and California is no exception. Each year, there are almost 30,000 teen births. Teen mothers typically live in poverty, depend on public assistance, and are in poor health. They are rarely able to pursue education to create a better life for themselves or their children, perpetuating a cycle of poverty that can lead to their children suffering from cognitive and health disadvantages.
Teen Success, Inc. has been fighting for over twenty years to break this cycle of poverty by providing targeted and research-based services to teen mothers to support them in graduating high school and developing the skills needed to nurture their child’s positive development. The original Teen Support program was established in 1990 by former California senator Becky Morgan, who then established Teen Success, Inc. in 2011 as an independent nonprofit to have a deeper and broader impact.
Although teen birth rates have declined over the past 15 years, several areas of California still show significant disparities. Teen Success, Inc. serves 12 locations across California with some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy, including several locations in the Central Valley such as Fresno, Bakersfield, and Visalia.
The need for intervention and services for teen mothers cannot be overstated. Teen pregnancy and parenthood are closely associated with a host of social and economic issues that not only affect teen parents and their children, but society as a whole. Without access to resources and opportunities to succeed, teen mothers rarely finish high school or ever attend college – in fact, nationally, only 38% of teen mothers ever finish high school and less than 2% complete college by age 30. Teen mothers and their children are also at higher risk of negative outcomes than the average American family, with children of teen mothers more likely to end up in child welfare, have contact with the correctional system, live in poverty, drop out of high school, and become teen parents themselves.
Photo Credit: Teen Success, Inc.
This is why Teen Success, Inc. works to provide resources to teen mothers, including one-on-one coaching for 18 months to focus on case management to mitigate barriers by developing action plans and connecting clients to services. Members also receive educational navigation to support school re-enrollment, advocate for services, and ensure they are on track to graduate. Weekly peer support groups focused on social emotional learning, parenting, and reproductive health education, are also offered.
Since 2013, the Teen Success, Inc. Scholarship Program has also been offered to exceptional members. The program provides post-secondary education aid to graduates of the Teen Success program who have maintained the size of their family, graduated from high school, and who plan to pursue higher education or learn specialized trade skills.
This year, 80 members graduated from Teen Success, Inc., including ten scholarship recipients. One of those scholarship recipients is Aaliyah Haddox, 18, of Fresno, pictured here with her daughter Aeveah, 11 months. (Photo Credit: Teen Success, Inc.)
Like each member of the Teen Success program, each scholarship recipient has a story. One of the 2017 scholarship recipients is 18-year-old Aaliyah Haddox of Fresno. Rising from difficult childhood circumstances including an unstable home, the foster care system, and loss, Aaliyah was motivated to become a role model for her daughter, Aeveah. Aaliyah’s goal is to become a lawyer to help other families who are going through difficult experiences similar to her own. As a Teen Success Scholarship recipient, Aaliyah will attend Fresno State to study Pre-Law. Please click here to read about all of the inspiring 2017 scholarship recipients.
Teen Success, Inc. has been a grantee of the Central Valley Community Foundation for nearly five years. In that time, the organization has demonstrated remarkable outcomes and progress toward preventing teen pregnancy. Compared to the national average of 38%, a staggering 94% of Teen Success, Inc. members who have completed the program have graduated from high school or are working towards graduation. Additionally, only 4% of members have had a second pregnancy, compared to the national average of 18%. To learn more about Teen Success, Inc.’s impact on teen pregnancy rates, please visit their website.
(Photo Credit: Teen Success, Inc.)
The Central Valley Community Foundation is proud to support the work of Teen Success, Inc. in preventing teen pregnancy and creating positive outcomes for youth in our communities. For more information on grants from CVCF, please visit the Grants Overview page of our website.