Helping break cycle of teen parents

Anyone who has ever been a teenager knows that few people at that age are ready for a family.

Teenagers are also known to make mistakes.

The Aspen Valley Community Foundation deserves kudos for its commitment of $90,000 over three years to the creation of a school for teen parents in Parachute.

Pregnancy rates for teens 13-17 in Garfield County rose from 9 to 14 percent between 1990 and 2000. Teen parents can attend the Yampah Mountain High School in Glenwood Springs, but the program is filled to capacity and only five of 40 teen parents in the Parachute and Rifle areas attended the program in 2002.

Teen parents already have more on their plate than most, so taking the commute to Glenwood Springs out of the equation will allow a higher participation and also take some pressure off the Yampah Teen Parent Program.

A high school education is essential in breaking what curriculum coordinator Rhonda Dillon calls “the cycle of teen parenting.” The Parachute program will enable the teen parents to finish high school, and also receive parenting education, in a comfortable environment while still spending time with their child and building the essential parent-child bond.

Programs like those at Yampah Valley and in Parachute are rarely overfunded, so keep them in mind the next time you’re contributing to your favorite charities. The community will see a future return on the investment.

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