New grants in Green Bay to help teen mothers

19-year-old mother Augustina Medina watches her 18 month old daughter Isabella play.
19-year-old mother Augustina Medina watches her 18 month old daughter Isabella play.

GREEN BAY- Green Bay Area School District and NWTC are working together to make sure teen moms graduate high school.

It’s an effort that may benefit the entire community.

Nineteen-year-old Augustina Medina says she wants to give her 18-month-old daughter Isabella the best life possible.

“When you get pregnant, you’re put in as you’re not going to graduate,” Medina said. “You’re not going to get far in life. And that always bugged me.”

Medina says she was supported by family and school counselors after giving birth.

But she still needed to step up her efforts to graduate from Green Bay Southwest High School.

In Wisconsin, nearly half of high school aged mothers do not graduate.

School social workers say one of the biggest barriers to not graduating high school as a teen parent is not know where to go for help. But two new grants are aimed at helping teen parents get their diplomas and go on to higher education.

The first grant: 200 thousand dollars from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It will provide additional academic support, career counseling, and parenting classes.

“We know that a really strong predictor of whether or not a child will grow up in poverty is if they are born to a mother who is a teen and one of the amazing things of the opportunity of this project is by getting more of our teen parents to the post-secondary level, we can potentially take two generations out of poverty,” said Green Bay West High School Social Worker Kim Schanock.

The second grant is from the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation Women’s Fund.

The organization won’t say how much it’s for.

The money will go toward a two year program which will directly connect NWTC counselors with pregnant high school students.

“How can you develop study skills and really learning about how to apply for financial aid, and how to fill out a college application,” said Amber Michaels, the students services manager for NWTC.

Medina now attends NWTC, studying business management.

She hopes others teen mothers will use the new resources in high school to find their own motivation, and provide a better life for their children.

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