For 32 years, Child, Home & Community (CHC) has provided resources and support for teen parents, their future children, and their families. The goal is to ensure healthy births, enhance family stability, and promote self-sufficiency.
The bottom line is this: Without proper education, advocacy, and support teen parents will have a significantly higher chance of using the social welfare system – cash assistance, food stamps, subsidized housing, and involvement with Children & Youth protective services.
Empowering and educating these young people will make them more likely to stay in school and graduate; find employment with good benefits; prepare their children for school; and become productive members of the community.
When young parents and families are given the tools to succeed, our entire community is better off.
CHC would not be able to touch so many lives without the generous support of many groups and individuals. At a recent Annual Supporter Appreciation Brunch, CHC honored a variety of community partners.
CHC awards recipients included:
- Bucks County Children & Youth for helping CHC fund its teen parent programs and working intensively with CHC staff to ensure that young moms, dads, and their babies receive optimum services
- First Federal of Bucks for contributing ongoing financial support
- Indian Rock Soroptimists for providing childcare for CHC clients during the agency’s Summer Retreat Day
- Bucks County Foundation for funding our pregnancy prevention/awareness program
- Philadelphia Diaper Bank for supplying thousands of diapers
- Volunteers Lisa & Lia Pretecrum for facilitating the fabulous raffle
Beth Styer, Executive Director, stressed that each donor, community partner, staff or Board member in the room is a crucial member of the CHC team. “The relationship between parent and child in the baby’s first years are of vital importance and sets the foundation for the child’s emotional and mental health throughout his or her entire life,” she said.
Beyond the Numbers
As part of the supporter appreciation event, CHC client Emily Borrell of Doylestown addressed the room. Three years ago Emily was a junior at C.B. South and had the world by the tail. She had a high GPA, was a skilled tennis player and had plans to attend the University of North Carolina and eventually become a veterinarian. But those plans were sharply derailed when she found that she was pregnant.
When Emily came to CHC’s childbirth class at Doylestown Hospital, she was distraught. Her grades were slipping and she felt as if she no longer had a niche in her high school. Emily couldn’t imagine how she would fulfill her dream of college, graduate school, and a professional career. “I was in a bad place,” she said. “I felt like my world was spinning out of control.”
“But CHC staff consistently supported me,” said Emily. “They helped me realize that although I had to tweak my dream a bit, I could nevertheless achieve it.”
After Emily’s baby was born, CHC helped her learn how to care for her daughter and balance baby, work, and school. Today, Emily is a junior at Delaware Valley College and plans to attend veterinary school and obtain her Doctorate degree in Veterinary Medicine.
In a show of support for clients, CHC board members wrapped up the event by reading aloud the promises that young CHC parents make to their babies:
- “I promise to always be there for you and to take care of you.”
- “I promise to cherish each special moment.”
- “I promise you a happy childhood that I never had.”
- “I promise to be the best mommy I can be to you.”
- “I promise you love, protection, health, shelter, security and open arms.”
- “I promise I will give you nice bubble baths, take you out for long walks, and play with you whenever you want.”
Everyone at the brunch left with one thought: These teen parents want the same things for their children as we do for ours.
Together, we can help them get there.
About the Contributor: Becky Van Dine has been Outreach Coordinator at Child, Home & Community since 2007. Prior to that, she worked in Development for Bethanna and Vita Education Services, and as a social worker in child welfare. To learn more about the work CHC does to build better futures in Bucks County, visit www.chcinfo.org.
About the Blog: Positively Bucks County is the official United Way of Buck County blog. We focus on the news, tips, tricks, and ideas from the people and organizations that make Bucks County a better place. To learn more about United Way of Bucks County, visit www.uwbucks.org. If you are interested in becoming a contributor, contact Marissa Christie at email@example.com.