Teenage pregnancy can be a very scary thing with a young girl not knowing what to do or where to turn. It’s a time when she needs a lot of help and support, but may not know how to get it, especially if she doesn’t have a supportive family.
If that happens to a teen at Liberty High School, a charter school located at 140 N. Keowee St. in Dayton, she can now turn to FYI’s Parenting Network, which is in partnership with the school. A member of the Parenting Network staff goes to the school weekly to bring the life-changing education and support to expecting students who choose to take advantage of it. Just like the Parenting Network’s in-office program, completed training earns the parents Baby Bucks, which can be used to shop in our Baby Store for items needed in preparation for or after the arrival of their new bundle of joy.
Parenting Network Director Amy Brown said, “It all started with a connection to a friend via a Facebook post. When I called her and said, ‘We can help you,’ she was already somewhat aware of our program since we already knew each other. As we talked, I discovered that we could actually go to the facility because many students don’t have transportation to get to us.”
This prompted us to think outside of the box, representing another way FYI is attempting to expand the scope of our service capabilities.
“We are trying to be innovative and organic in the way we service our clients. We are paving our path, but we don’t know where it will lead yet. One thing COVID has taught us is that we can do things differently,” Amy said. “I’m not afraid of change and pushing others to change because change is not a bad thing. It’s the only way organizations can grow and become more successful. Sometimes you come to a part of the road where you can’t see where to go next and have to make a way to go. But that causes you to see opportunities to improve and grow.”
While the program is new at Liberty, it is already making an impact.
“(So far) we've gotten three new clients out of it,” Amy said. “Even if it is just one person, we are helping one more person than we did yesterday. It is a great opportunity for FYI and the Parenting Network.”
FYI Executive Director Nikki Stefanow stressed that patience will be a virtue in this new effort.
“I expect it to be slow-starting,” she said. “It is new for the students and for us, so it will take a while to work out the bugs. Right now, it is about building relationships.”
The program is also in keeping with Nikki’s overall vision for FYI.
“I don’t want to make new programs, I want to expand our current programs,” Nikki said. “Currently, the Parenting Network is in two counties - Greene and Clark. This opportunity would expand our presence to a third - Montgomery County. When students don’t have resources to get to this, they can still be equipped to be better parents. We can engage in a relationship with them, encourage them to continue making good decisions to set up a safer home environment, and equip them to have a better future, which leads back to rescuing them from potential trauma.”
The program focuses on bringing parents a hope-filled future.
“We want to give the students confidence that they can be a good parent, despite their age,” Amy said. “Some people haven’t had the experience to be around small children. It can be overwhelming, especially while they are still in school themselves. When they attend (classes), develop parenting skills, and earn baby bucks to purchase necessity items for their baby, they are building confidence to parent the child they are about to have or the children they already have.”
To find out more about how to get involved or support FYI’s Parenting Network, call us at (937) 845-0403 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.