Eliminate Stigma, Improve Support

My name is Lauren Singer. I am 22 years old and I live in Brookline. I am a mother to a beautiful sixteen-month-old boy named, Jonathan. He is my pride and joy; my whole world. I attend Massbay Community College as a part time student and one day plan on transferring to Simmons College to become a Pediatrician. I’m also a Young Parent Policy Fellow at the Mass Alliance. We are a group of dedicated young parents committed to strengthening leadership skills and advocating for expected and parenting teens.

I first heard about Mass Alliance when a friend mentioned it to me. I was looking for support and people to relate to who were young parents as well. However, I gained so much more than just support. I gained a voice in advocacy. I used to be the extremely shy girl. The one who would coincidently get “sick” on the day I was supposed to present a project, in school, to 15 classmates. Who would have known that being a part of the Mass Alliance would help me overcome my fear of public speaking. This past Lobby day, I spoke in front of 700 people about the shaming and demeaning teen pregnancy prevention adds NY city posted. In addition, I continue to be the Alliance’s lead facilitator for their Title IX awareness trainings. We teach young parents and providers about the rights expectant and parenting students have under the Title IX Federal Law - that legally, they cannot be discriminated against. 

The work that the Mass Alliance does is extremely important. Most people shame teen parents, when what they really need are supports, just like any first time parents. Teen parents do not need to hear “Your life is over because you had a baby” or “you will never amount to anything.” What people need to be focusing on is making resources available, having sex ed in every school and providing teens with a safe place where they can feel comfortable asking questions about sex. We need to inform teens. 

The Alliance is leading the charge in getting rid of the “shame” campaigns and making sex education available for all students. They’re working to empower current teen parents, through efforts like the YPPF program and they’re dedicated to ensuring that all expectant and parenting teens, and their children, succeed.

I hope that the Alliance and I will be successful in decreasing the negative stigma surrounding teen pregnancy and increasing the supports teen parents receive. 

But, I also hope that teen parents won’t let people or billboards bring them down, because those are just words, and what we’re doing at the Alliance is action. I’m taking action by being part of the Alliance team, by working to prevent teen pregnancy, by advocating in front of legislators, schools and providers so more young parents receive the services they need to achieve their dreams. I take action by facilitating trainings and promoting awareness, and I work to change local legislation, so more young parents graduate high school and continue onto college. But my favorite part of this work is that, through the YPPF program, I’m able to give and get support from other moms, just like me. And ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS!

If you are interested in joining the Young Parent Policy Fellowship, please contact Katie Bright at kbright@massteenpregnancy.org.

Comments

Add new comment