This is a mural the teen mothers and staff painted together that is located in the Cafeteria at the facility.
When we visited around Valentine’s Day, this heart tree was hanging up in the Cafeteria and it was made by the mothers and children.
This is a designated area for the mothers to feed the children.
World History I
8 May 2014
YPI Service Learning Reflection
The social issue my group chose to research was Teen Pregnancy. The United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy out of all other developing countries. Teen Pregnancy is especially a problem in New York City and can lead to things such as poverty, unemployment, and homelessness for the mothers and the children. Children of teen moms are more likely not to graduate high school than children whose mothers are over the age of 22. Rather than put down teen mothers and shame them like some of former Mayor Bloomberg’s campaigns have done, we wanted to pick an organization whose goal is to help the teen mothers and put them back on their feet.
The non-profit organization we chose is Covenant House. We specifically focused on Covenant House’s Mother and Child Program because it directly addressed our social issue. The facility we visited was specifically for Covenant House’s Mother and Child Program located at 427 W 52nd St. Covenant House is a Catholic organization so they can’t educate teenagers about birth control, but they can educate the girls about STDs and provide support and a home for them if they are pregnant. Covenant House’s Mother and Child Program’s mission is to “help these determined mothers and pregnant teenagers secure a brighter, more stable future for themselves and their babies”. During our site visit everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and overall it was a very rewarding experience.
To some extent, this project affected how I look at teen pregnancy. My cousin Erica got pregnant at a young age and had her son Bailey at the age of 18. I thought Erica had been irresponsible and would have to struggle, but that wasn’t the case because Erica had a family to support her. By visiting Covenant House I realized what an effect having even a little support can do for a teen mother. Instead of making girls feel bad and looking at them disapprovingly, I can only think about what types of responsibilities they must have and how much is needed to really support a child. Instead of campaigns shaming teen mothers I want there to be more awareness for places these girls can go to get help, like Covenant House.
This project really helped me with my leadership skills, public speaking skills, and writing skills. Once we got in contact with Covenant House, I wanted Ms. Renata Alexis, the person in charge at the Mother and Child Program, to know that we really cared about this issue. This meant staying in contact with her, making sure everyone knew what time we were meeting and taking detailed notes during out site visit. Also, presenting in front of a panel of judges as well as my peers about a topic that I became very passionate about was nerve racking, but once I connected with the project the presentation seemed easy. Furthermore, the emails we sent to Renata had to be professional and well written. Having a template to look at and models of good emails I feel that my ability to write important emails has improved.
Trying to fit everything we got out of our site visit into one presentation and keep everyone engaged while showing them how great Covenant House is was very challenging, but I think we managed to do it to the best of our ability. The most important thing for me, was to raise awareness for Covenant House and show the girls that they aren’t alone or weak.
Works Cited: http://www.covenanthouse.org/homeless-youth-programs/mother-child-teenage-pregnancy-help