Jessica in Redwood City, CA, worked hard to complete her high school education and overcome barriers — including the stigma of being a young mother.
She was about to start a new job with better working conditions when, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the shelter-in-place ordinance took effect.
With support from NIA and other community partners, Teen Success, Inc., a local nonprofit and a member of NIA, helped Jessica take care of her 10-month-old daughter.
Karin Kelley, Executive Director of Teen Success talks about her organization and how NIA helps support Teen Success’ mission.
Tell us a little bit about Teen Success.
Teen Success empowers young women who become mothers as teens to achieve their full potential in school and as parents, so two generations thrive.
We believe that education is the key to maximizing each person’s potential and making communities strong. We know that when young mothers are given the right supports and access to opportunities, their families, neighborhoods, and society at large benefit.
What’s your approach?
Our two-generation approach involves partnering with young mothers to heal trauma, build skills and a future mindset, and address the barriers young mothers face to being successful in school and in life. We help young mothers through challenges to achieve two goals:
- Complete high school and post-secondary education
- Develop the knowledge and skills to nurture their child’s positive development
One way that NIA serves its members beyond providing insurance is through the Gilbert Fund. How has the Gilbert Fund helped you?
A grant from the Gilbert Fund allowed Teen Success staff to purchase and deliver diapers and wipes to our members. This grant ensured our young mothers and their children continued sheltering-in-place during the early days of the pandemic, instead of resorting to public transit to stand in overcrowded stores without the proper personal protective equipment. With funding, our staff was able to arrange for curbside pick-up of items from stores, and then leave items on the doorsteps of members, ensuring the least amount of contact with others and keeping with Department of Health and CDC guidelines.
Who are the young women Teen Success works with?
Teen Success members are low-income. Ninety-four percent are women of color and many are from immigrant families. In addition to the challenges and stigma associated with being young mothers, Teen Success members face complexities that include housing instability; limited access to healthcare and reproductive health information; emotional and physical violence in their homes, relationships, and communities; lack of access to affordable childcare; and racism and discrimination.
Teen Success partners with families across California, in high-poverty communities that have persistently high rates of teen pregnancy and parenthood, despite the overall decrease across the state over the past 20 years.
Teen Success is a member of NIA and a Gilbert Fund recipient. If you’re not yet a member of NIA, click here to learn more about becoming a member.