Knowledge is Power

My name is Grace Garcia and I’ve been a young parent ambassador for the past 16 months. As my time is up I have had a chance to reflect on my journey.

When I first started the program I believed that I knew exactly what all young parents were like and what they needed because I was a young parent. I believed I knew everything there was to know about the young parent community but over time I realized I was wrong. Not all parents were on food stamps and not all single parents were mothers and not everyone needed to go to college to be successful.

I also went into the program believing that I had made a mistake by becoming a mom and I thought my story would prevent teens from having babies. But my whole view on teen pregnancy was wrong. I associated unplanned and unwanted pregnancy to teen pregnancy and there is a difference that I have come to know.

Being part of the ambassadors program helped me to become aware of the issues my community faced and how these issues directly affect me. For example, racism was something I believed didn’t exist  anymore but now I know how greatly it has impacted me and how racism still exist not just between people but also in the schools systems and in government institutions. This has changed my perception of life and it is a constant reminder when I step outside my home in a “bad” neighborhood.

When I started this program I thought I had made a mistake when I had my child at 19 and even though he made my life better I felt a lot of pressure to say the opposite. I almost felt lucky because I wasn’t like the other teens that were made to think and say that having a child ruined their life. Before I associated unplanned and unwanted pregnancy to teen pregnancy and this was not necessarily true. I love being a mom and I learned that it’s ok!

I have to thank every person who I have come across on this program especially the ones who made me smile. Thank you to the people who supported me during my toughest times. And I have to thank the program for teaching me so much that school and my community failed to teach me after all “Knowledge is power” and I look forward to whatever great things life has next for me.

 

STEPS in the Boston Globe!

 

JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF
JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF

“When Jakira Gibbs became pregnant in high school, she had the support of family, friends, and her boyfriend in her decision to have the baby, a daughter. Now, at 21, Gibbs is reaching out to help other young parents who might not be so fortunate.

Gibbs, who is set to graduate from Bunker Hill Community College and continue her studies in human services, has been volunteering for Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s program for teen parents, where she has found solidarity. And she is expressing her gratitude — and her determination not to lose sight of her own ambitions — by contributing a moving essay to “Growing Together,” an annual anthology of young parents’ creativity, produced each year for a Boston summit that connects teen parents with the social services that will help them thrive.”

Read the full article in the Globe here!

#MamasDay 2014

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