Teen and Tots: Parenting, Early Childhood Development, and Workforce Development


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Teens and Tots Parent Voices

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Parenting, Early Childhood Development, and Workforce Development TEENS & TOTS: TEEN PARENT VOICES 1


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Teen Parent Voices


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TEENS & TOTS: Parenting, Early Childhood Development, and Workforce Development www.cdl.org


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Angelle Cline June 26, 2015 I have two beautiful baby boys coming into this world. They are my heart and soul, I would give up my own life to let y’all live a better one than both me and your father. I want my children to know that we struggled for them to live a better life than we did. For example, neither of us had a two parent household and dealt with conflict with our parents. This would make them more secure with themselves and know that we are in their corner. This also would show them how to become strong, independent, and respectful men who know how to treat a woman because we could model the behavior that is appropriate. As a mother of two boys, I want my babies to learn to be leaders and not followers. They should always follow their own road because when you follow someone, you’ll never know how to function or live on your own. I don’t want them to feel like they need someone for anything other than a friend. I want them to be positive leaders for all boys and men and become strong black men and role models for both young and old. As a child, it was hard to know how my mother felt about me. So I want my children to always feel safe, loved, and happy because these are the most important aspects in anybody’s life, especially children. Love shows them what it is to have love and how it should look, feel, or be shown. Safety shows them that they’re always secure, in good hands, and out of harm’s way. On the other hand, happiness shows that a happy life makes a happy future. 2


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As an expecting mother, I always want my boys to be successful and independent in whatever they do. I never want them to feel like they have to settle for less than what they reached for. I want them to be successful in everything they put their minds to, even if it’s a hot dog stand. I want it to be the best hot dog stand ever and make sure they’re happy and fulfilled in what they wanted to do. 3


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My Name Adapted from The House on Mango Street In English my name means angel. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means angel, it means loving. It’s like the number four and a happy and determined color. It is like the Ja Rule and Ashanti song my mother played when I was small thinking about my father. My name comes from my mother’s friend’s daughter’s name, which was her middle name. They were really good friends at the time, but that was the deal breaker. She looked at my mom as if she stole her child’s name or something that she valued. My mother - I know her very well. She is known for being aggressive, which makes sense because according to the Chinese New Year, she’s a dragon. She obviously didn’t care about losing her friend or being considered a thief. She only cared about what she wanted and her feelings. And the story goes on until this day. She’s stubborn and aggressive when it comes to what she wants. She’s arrogant and thinks she can do no wrong. I want to be a different person, reliable and humble. I am Poem By Angelle Cline I am sexy and I am brave I wonder why I got so many craves I hear icemakers all the time I see ice on my mind I want Hershey to grow on trees I am sexy and I am brave I pretend I’m in a cave I feel Anabel is coming I touch lighter as I run 4


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I learned that my baby’s first teacher is me and that I make the path that they walk down. I learned that there is no such thing as loving your baby too much. In my literacy class, I learned that my education has no limit on it. I can be anything that I want to be. I would tell the next group of teen parents that they are the future and being pregnant isn’t a set back; it’s motivation. I would advise them that they should get an excellent support team and build a sturdy foundation because it really takes a village to raise a child. Last but certainly not least, I would inform them that this program, Teens and Tots, has amazing and understanding people who you can confide in and who actually want to be involved and supportive to what you are going through. If I could thank anybody from the program, I couldn’t just choose one person. I would thank Mrs. Campbell for always being the voice of reason, being supportive with our learning and our lives and most of all being honest and straightforward 100% of the time. I would then thank Ms. Sam and Mrs. Amy because they always stayed involved. Ms. Sam is the most understanding and caring person I’ve met. She always looked out for our best interests, and was concerned genuinely with our problems and well-being. Mrs. Amy, on the other hand, always tried to keep us involved and active with all the activities. She always had a good attitude. I worry about the dark I cry when I see sparks I am sexy and I am brave I understand that I am fat I say that fat is going to break my back I dream I will be strong I try to hang on I hope my love is warm I am sexy and I am brave 5


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Ashawtia Cormier June 26, 2015 What do I want for my child, you may ask? Well, any mother would want her child to be loved and be very happy and successful when they are older. Some parents think giving a child what they want is always good. Others think that breaking promises would show their kids that life doesn’t always go their way. But truly, it shows dishonesty and teaches the child not to trust. I want my child to know that I will always be there for her no matter what happens in both of our lives. I want her to know that she is very loved. Along with graduating from high school, she is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I want her to know that her mother faced many challenges and has never and will never give up on her dreams. For my child, I want the same thing. She needs to stay focused and think about what is important for her. I want my child to learn that fear is a state of mind and that she shouldn’t be afraid of anything. I want her to learn to make her dreams a reality because it’s important for her to know that anything is possible. As my child gets older, I want her to feel everything I already know about her. I want her to feel very important and powerful. She should feel this way because she is not only important and powerful but also beautiful and smart. 6


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I want my child to be confident because without confidence, she won’t try to be her best. I want my child to make better choices than I did. I want my child to think before she acts. I want her to know that for every effect, there is a cause. I want my child to know that whatever happens, I will always be by her side and that no one can take her place in my world. She is the most important thing to me. I just want my child to know and feel that I love her. 7


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My Name Adapted from The House on Mango Street In English my name means light. In Spanish it means brillar. It means bright, it means twinkle. It is like the number 5, a middle number on the scale. It is the old school song my father plays on our long rides to his home, songs like a party and not about life. It was a lady in my grandmother’s head and now it is my name. I really don’t know what kind of lady she was. Suppose she was born like me in the Chinese year – a horse. Which for my background is strong. Beautiful, and wise. I think like most of the people in my family we are all the same. The lady in my grandmother’s head, I would have loved to know, a strong beautiful woman. So beautiful everyone hated her until they got to know her. Just like that, as if she was a blooming flower. Was that the way they saw it? And the story goes on. She had a different outlook on the world, her whole life and the way many looked at it, as if she couldn’t be touched. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was she sorry because she became conceited. I have inherited her name but I don’t want to inherit her ways – acting as if I can’t be touched. At school they say my name in many different ways. As if it was hard or long. But in Spanish my name is made out of a softer more bold something like yellow, but not quite as thick as my sister’s name, Lakita, which is harder than mine. Lakita, who at least can come home and become Kita. I would like to give myself a new name. A name like more of a real me. The one everyone can clearly see. A name like Lala or Carmen the Z will work for me. I am Poem By Ashawtia Cormier I am beautiful and intelligent I hear my daughter say “Ma” I see bright lights I want to be successful I am beautiful and intelligent I pretend I am a queen I feel amazing I wonder why people do crazy stuff I touch gumdrops and lollipops 8


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There are several things from the Teens and Tots program. I learned how to be a better mother to my child. During the early childhood part, I learned the different parts and stages of labor. I also learned the best ways to discipline my child. On the literacy side, I learned to be more fluent when I read. I have been using new words, thanks to Mrs. Kenya for giving us new words every week. I really liked many things about the program. I liked that we received hours towards a CDA. Another thing I liked was that they always made sure we had good food and snacks. I also like that we didn’t have to pay for anything. One thing I would change about Teens and Tots would be to shorten the hours spent at the program. Some of the teens complained that they had appointments and other things to do but couldn’t because of the amount of time at the program. The advice I would give to another teen parent is to stay focused on her and her baby. Learn and take in as much education as you can because its going to pay off in the long run. I would also encourage them to join a lot of teen parenting programs because it will help you and your baby strive to be better. For this program, I would say thanks to all of the people who have been involved in making it successful. I would also say thank you to the people who funded it because without them, I wouldn’t have gotten this experience and I wouldn’t have gotten paid. I learned I worry that I can’t give my child what she wants I cry when I think about my brother I am beautiful and intelligent I understand that if I put my best foot forward, I am unstoppable I say the first thing that comes to mind I dream about being the best teacher I try my best at everything I hope to be a teacher I am beautiful and intelligent 9


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Essence Franklin June 26, 2015 As a parent, I want my child to know she is loved, she is respected, and she is somebody. I want my daughter to know she is loved. As a single mother, I want her to know that I’m going to be there; I’m going to be there ‘til the end. She should know that no one will love her and care for her like I will. She also needs to know that she can always communicate with me, trust me, and depend on me because I will be there as a mother and best friend. As a parent, I also want my daughter to feel respected. I want this for her because I feel that she deserves some respect as a child. If I respect her by not yelling, hitting, or being too strict with her, then she’s going to respect me. I would teach her what’s respectful and what’s disrespectful. I believe that respect is going to get her through life physically, mentally, and emotionally. Lastly, I want my daughter to be somebody one day. This means I want her to finish school and make the right choices in her life. I want her to accomplish all of her goals and to make me a proud mother. I don’t want her running the streets and doing drugs. I want the best for her, and I want her to be on top. 10


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These are all my desires for my child – to feel respected, to know she’s loved, and to be somebody. 11


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My Name Adapted from The House on Mango Street In English my name means basic of nature. In Spanish my name means fresh scents. It means shy. It means nonchalant. It’s like the number seven. A dull color. It’s a tune Buddha will hum to keep calm. My mother named me this because she wanted me to be different. I think it is accurate. My personality is really different. I was born in the Chinese year of the tiger, which is supposed to mean that I am creative and outgoing. I’m very disobedient; I don’t like people telling me what to do. Maybe that is because I’m a loner. I like to be my own person in my own world. Sometimes I sit alone and paint, draw or play a classical piece of music. I’m different because I dislike how everyone tries to be like others. I have my own styles, my own way of making friends, and talking to people. I’m very gorgeous, but I’m shy at times. At school, others make fun of my name - they call me the essence fest or essence magazine. They pronounce my name with an “I” instead of an “E”. My name is not as easy as my sister’s name, Daija, who can come home and be Day-Day. But I’m always Essence. I love my name, but I wish instead of Essence or Essy. I can be wonderland. I like wonderland because it can describe me as an independent person who likes to stay in her own world. I am Poem By Essence Franklin I am nonchalant and courageous I wonder why I’m unliked I hear whispers I see dark figures I want to feel cared for I am nonchalant and courageous I pretend I’m happy I feel like I’m no longer on Earth I touch an angel 12


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While in the Teens and Tots program, a lot of information about child development. I also learned that kids learn through what their parents do and they explore with their mouths. I also learned that there are seven essentials for parents to show their children – explore, protect, rehearse, celebrate, communicate, mentor, and guide. What I liked about the program was the Literacy part because it really helped me grow my vocabulary. Now I feel I can teach my daughter new, bigger words. It also helped me say words the correct way. I learned that the program really helps teen moms learn more about the stages their child is going through and helps us get ready for the real world. My advice to other teen mothers or fathers is to stay in school and finish school so that they can give their child a life to live without hard street struggles. Many thanks to Mrs. Alice. Thanks to her for giving me the opportunity to help my reading skills develop and informing me about how a child develops. I learned I worry about where I’m going I cry if someone walks out of my life I am nonchalant and courageous I understand why people whisper I say I am beautiful I dream about what heaven is like I try to be strong I hope I make it I am nonchalant and courageous 13



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