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Break the Poverty Cycle: Train Teen Mothers First

by Staff
July 21, 2010
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MEDIA ADVISORY (christiansunite.com) -- Each year, over 465,000 teens in the United States will have sex, get pregnant, give birth and keep the baby. Of those child-mothers, the majority will not graduate high school.

The noise of political conversations on teen pregnancy obscures what remains: an infant who, before his first breath, has the odds stacked high against him. His parent is one unskilled, undereducated and unemployed girl. Taxpayers will assist her at a cost of $9 billion annually. Is that enough?

No, says Teen Mother Choices International, a one-of-a-kind Chicago-area nonprofit that aims to undo the downwardly-mobile cycle that is fixed for the baby of a teen.

More than reducing taxpayer burden, TMCI (www.tmcint.org) brings an army of mentors and volunteers to train and support teen moms in a holistic program. The results in northern Illinois since its 1989 start: independent and educated moms with the life skills to create stable families, live independent of government assistance, and raise children to replicate that full, productive life.

For any hope to break the generational cycle of poverty and dependence, mothers need support. Because mothers are the first educators of children, an uneducated and unskilled mother will pass on the same to her child. TMCI is a Christian organization poised to stand in the gap to ensure that each newborn of a teen mom has the opportunity to thrive with a confident, productive and loving mother. The next generations have experienced change:

The daughter of the program's first graduate, Latrice Evans, enrolled in nursing school and recently received a scholarship. Evans said, "[TMCI] taught me how to build a foundation and helped me realize that my life did not end. My children have matured and their hearts have softened when they see how far I've come. They say, 'If mommy works full-time, takes care of us, plus goes to school, there is nothing I can't do.' So they tend to go with the 'right thing to do' when they come across pressure that normal teens have."

Another graduate said, "Teen Mother Choices changed my life. I finished high school, graduated from cosmetology...I'm married, have two more children and my husband adopted my daughter. I know I would not be where I am today if it weren't for [Teen Mother Choices]."

With 20 years' success behind its unique model, TMCI announces its national launch in 2010 to reach 3,000 churches and community organizations in 50 states. The first licensee trainee from Kaufman, Texas signed on in December 2009.

Forty local organizations in 14 states have already incorporated the process; The Plan to mobilize churches, organizations and individuals would have 300,000 teens touched by the model by 2015--over half of the teen moms in the U.S! Just $500,000 in funds is needed for the initial launch in 2010. These monies will facilitate strategic client support and expansion of training materials and web delivery capabilities.

"Many people talk about their strong pro-life beliefs but few know how to put their conviction into meaningful action," said Executive Director of Teen Mother Choices International Christa March. "TMCI provides donors, volunteers and churches with the opportunity to put their convictions into action in practical ways: using the gifts and talents they possess as individuals to help needy [families] headed by teen mothers."

About Teen Mother Choices International (TMCI)
TMCI is a Christian ministry that provides churches, other charitable organizations and individuals with the education and training needed to serve parenting teen moms within their own communities. To learn more about TMCI, visit www.tmcint.org

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