Monday, December 6, 2010

Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy's 2010 Teen Pregnancy Institute: Expecting Success for Youth and Young Families

As a former teen parent, I love to hear about and get involved with organizations in my area whose mission is to support teen parents especially on the policy level. When I heard about the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, I knew I needed to get involved somehow. I’ve recently been added to the contributors on their blog The Pushback.

More about The Pushback:

We know the stereotypes and prejudices that teen parents have to face — but we also know the truth. We know that teen parents can be capable caregivers and fabulous role models for their children. We know that, with support, they can achieve academically and professionally. We know young families can be successful.
This space is to push back against all that ignorance, bitterness, and prejudice and show what young parenthood really looks like.

When I heard about The Alliance’s 2010 Teen Pregnancy Institute: Expecting Success for Youth and Young Families I knew I had to attend. The Alliance’s 12th annual conference was a full day event packed with information, workshops, collaboration, and advice on how providers can better serve and aide the youth and young families they serve. The majority of attendees were those that work directly with youth and their families in teen parent services, teen pregnancy prevention, family planning, education, and early childhood education. There was also a special screening of The Gloucester 18. Remember the highly publicized suspicion of 18 girls in Gloucester, MA making a pregnancy pact to get pregnant around the same time and raise their children together? The documentary was truthful, honest, and dispelled all the rumors regarding the supposed pregnancy pact. It’s a must watch for all teens and youth and family workers.

I signed up for the following workshops: 
A: Helping Young Families Access Emergency Assistance Family Shelter, Prevention, and Re-housing Resources
B: Youth Activism: A Tool for Self-Empowerment
C: Teen Parent Panel

All were amazing and extremely informative and enlightening. The workshop I enjoyed most was the Teen Parent Panel. The panel of 4 former teen mothers was asked questions that came from the audience about their experience being a teen parent. The 4 all come from various backgrounds and experiences, and one, Natasha Vianna, a fellow blogger at The Pushback, has recently become a friend. I cringed hearing some of their stories, because I had such similar stories hidden away. The panel discussed reactions from their parents when they told them they were pregnant and the weight of outside influences during and after pregnancy. They also offered some advice to other teen parents, and the one I really bonded with was when one stated that we have to seek out help and become our own best advocates. We are the ones able to change ourselves and our circumstances; we cannot expect someone to change our life for us. We have to speak out for what we want and be willing to work and sacrifice for it. When asked what is the first step to a successful teen mom they agreed that an education is what is most important. 

Natasha and I at the end of the conference

There is sooo much more I can post about the workshop, but I wanted to give a brief overview of the conference and some of the information that was shared. I may write another post focusing on the workshops themselves and what I learned from them. The Massachusetts Alliance is a phenomenal organization and I encourage you all to visit them on the web and follow them on Twitter and/or Facebook.

Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy Contact information:


  1. Sounds like a great conference and a great organization. I was a teen mom (16)and never hide that fact about my life. It's great to see an organization that is about preventing Tenne pregnancy but also supporting teens who do get pregnant.


  2. I love that you shared this with us. I wasnt a teen Mom but my best friend was- fortunately Miami have schools that support Moms and she had amazing teachers/friends to help her through the rough times... all while educating her on how to continue the path to success.

    I will check out the links you posted on my break and thanks again for sharing!!


  3. Hey Randi, thanks for the comment! It's a wonderful organization and one that I am proud to be associated with! We as younger parents should never be embarrassed by the age when we had our children, though society makes us want too. I had my daughter at 19 and I'm thankful to have her when I did! I'm headed over to check out KickingFat!

  4. Hey Ro! Yes I encourage you to check out their links and follow them via twitter/facebook they are an excellent excellent organization! It's def a struggle being a single mom, but my motto: nothing can hold us down!!

  5. What a great thing for you to get involved in! You're such a wonderful role model Miss Mama!

  6. This sounds really amazing. I'm so glad you were able to attend this. I love the idea of The Pushback... pushing back against all the stereotypes that teen mothers face is such a dope concept. And I read every post on that blog.

    I also like the ides of being your own best advocate. That is so very true. The real world is rough, no doubt about it. And once you have another human being depending on you for survival, it is imperative to go out and change the circumstance. WORD!

    Great post, as always.

    {{PS: You've reached 100... congrats! Triple digits... ouch!}}


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