Not yet three years old, Amir has already lived through danger and uncertainty. He was born weighing less than four pounds to fifteen year old Reesheyma, who struggled to manage her frustration and anger as a single teen mother.
Afraid to talk with anyone about her struggles, Reesheyma spent most of her time in her house until a fire forced her to move with her mother and Amir to a shelter. Her counselor at the shelter connected Reesheyma to YSI’s Baring House Crisis Nursery, where Amir would be cared for while she got back into school. It was at Baring House that she was introduced to Teen Success. Reesheyma remembers:
When I found out about Teen Success I was so happy, because I could talk freely. We talk about parenting, our bodies, sex, and relationships. We can open up in a way that we can’t anywhere else. We help each other out and give each other advice.
Reesheyma plans to graduate high school this year and attend Cheyney University on her way to becoming a nurse. Her future looks bright, and she wants the same for Amir: “He’s a blessing. I want him to go to college; I don’t want him to be negatively affected by his environment.”
The parenting skills Reesheyma learns at Teen Success help her to give Amir the love and structure he needs. This year she will graduate from Teen Success. She recognizes the program’s importance for other teen mothers:
There are a lot of teen moms who want to talk about their experiences, but they’re so scared because there’s no one they can run to. At Teen Success we help each other out. There should be more groups like this. There are a lot of teen moms in Philadelphia without anyone to talk to, and some of them may really be struggling.
Reesheyma credits Teen Success for supporting her through a difficult time in her life. As she continues to make progress towards her goals, she wants YSI to make sure that other teen moms will have the same opportunity.
Click here to make a donation in honor of Reesheyma and the other current members of Teen Success.
NewsWorks, the online home of WHYY News, ran an article on Teen Success. Click here to check it out.