MEDFORD, Ore. -- According to the CDC, teen pregnancy rates are down but local organizations say teen parents need help getting access to resources. So many of them came together for a Teen Parent Faire at North Medford High School.
“There are a lot of teen parents out there that maybe don't know what’s available to them or for some reason are afraid to access them. We just wanted to bring all of these services together, non-profits, public agencies and everything that want young parents to succeed, to finish school, to be healthy, and have a good life,” said the Executive Director of Magdalene Home in Medford Tricia Prendergast. She is also the President of the Teen Parent Advisory Council, the group that organized the faire. “We embrace our teen parents and we want them to succeed and be good community citizens and contributors.”
20-year-old Jasmin Espinoza is one of the young mothers who went to Teen Parent Faire. She's just one month away from getting her GED from North Medford High School and with a 23-month-old by her side at the school's Child Development Center. It allows students in the Medford School District to bring their children to school so they can also get to class.
"We want to make sure these young folks who get in these situation have a place to come and they feel very welcome and we can help serve their needs and help get them through high school and onto college," said Medford School District Superintendent Brian Shumate.
"Being 18 and pregnant is not the easiest but it’s for sure doable. I just told myself that I would never give up so that I can give my daughter a good life and finish my education," added Espinoza.
Jasmin said she wouldn't be where she is now without the help of Magdalene Home, the Maslow Project and other organizations, all reaching out to other current and expecting teen parents at the Teen Parent Faire.
17-year-old Kat Beaty is rolling up on 12 weeks and four days pregnant. She found out she was pregnant when she was homeless and was immediately connected with the Magdalene Home. Although Kat is familiar with many of the organizations at the Teen Parent Faire, she wanted more information.
"I want to provide a life for my child that I never had. So I'm trying to do everything in my power to make sure that happens," Kat said. "[This] could help a lot of teens get through some difficulties that they never thought they could overcome and accomplish so many dreams that they have.”
This was the very first time the organizations came together for this Teen Parent Faire. They’re hoping to make this an annual event and maybe even a bi-annual one.