Teen Parent Program holds reunion
Post Independent Staff
Martha Menchaca always wanted to be a teacher. But when she became pregnant in 1996 as a student at Basalt High School, she lost all hope.
Her dream was renewed when she transferred to Yampah Mountain High School and joined the school’s Teen Parent Program, run by Lucy Adams.
“My last year at Yampah, Lucy brought me the application for Colorado Mountain College and said, ‘Here you go, I know you can do it,'” Menchaca said. “All year she pushed going to college.”
In December 2005, Menchaca will graduate from CMC with a degree in bilingual education, on the path to realizing her goal.
“Our program started as practically nothing,” Adams said. “But there’s been a big development over 10 years, and now we can truly provide wraparound services for these vulnerable families.”
The program offers education for teenagers who are pregnant or already have a child, in addition to early development classes and two nurseries for their children. A visiting pediatric and midwifery nurse and a therapist also provide their expertise.
Mothers and fathers can get high school credit for taking parenting classes and participating in PACT – Parents and Children Together Time – in which the teens learn basic child care and nutrition. Since 1994, the program has graduated more than 100 families, Adams said.
To celebrate their achievements, a reunion will be Saturday, June 5, at Yampah Mountain High School for graduates and friends of the program.
“It certainly provides a need for the community that is not being effectively met anywhere else,” said Tom Heald, principal of Yampah Mountain High School.
Menchaca, who works at All Valley Women’s Care in Basalt, now juggles caring for three children, including Luis, 6, whom she had during her time at Yampah, in addition to finishing her schooling. But the Teen Parent Program and Adams’ support still motivate her.
Adams “first led me to believe that I could do it,” she said. “When I get my bachelor’s degree, I plan to dedicate it to her.”
The reunion will bring back graduates and their children who wouldn’t have had anywhere to go without the program, Adams said.
“They’re making their way in the the world,” Heald said. “They’re doing far better than they would have had we not been part of their lives.”
Contact Christine Dell’Amore: 945-8515, ext. 535
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