HARVEY, Ill. — Only two percent of teenage moms go on to earn college degrees and one local program is working overtime to change that.
The drop out rate for teen moms is staggering, as they are thrust into a full time parenting role, often times without the support needed to finish high school.
In Harvey, there is a small tucked away building doing big things for young moms and their babies.
The Blanche Foxworthy Infant Care Center and Teen Parent Program provides toddlers and their young mothers with the support needed.
A young mother planned on dropping out of high school initially after having her baby because she didn’t know how she would juggle being a student and being a mom.
“I had my daughter at 15-years-old which was sophomore year,” Makiyah Hampton with the Thorton Township Teen Parent Program said.
“It was hard. It was a struggle, especially having a daughter at that young of an age.”
Infant Care Center Director, Candice Coleman, says it’s their job to ensure these young parents know they have a place for their kids and a plan for themselves.
“If I need to be your mom, your nurse, your prayer warrior,” Coleman said. “That’s what we’re here to do.”
Coleman and ICCD hold young mothers accountable while keeping tabs on their classes.
“They push me to do better,” Ella Allen said.
The teens say the program feels like a second family, especially on outings where they bond with young parents like themselves.
“I don’t know if I would have been able to support them alone without creating this village,” Allen said.
For Infant Care Center Director Candice Coleman, the rewards are two fold: every baby here means another teen mom will graduate.
“Seeing the accomplishments of the girls, to see them flourish with their baby in tow,” Coleman said. “You know how they say if you could do something for free? This would be that job.”