Program helps teen mothers in Guilford County

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- It was more than a year ago, but Alyze Gaither remembers every detail of that day like it just happened.

"It was scary," Gaither said.

At the time Gaither was a high school senior and pregnant. Fortunately there's a program in Guilford County that helps young ladies become mothers and job holders. Holly Broadwater is the program manager for Teen Parent Mentor Program.

"Our job is to bring these young ladies up to be mentors and be leaders in the community," Broadwater said.

Staff members sit down with teen mothers and teach them how to become good parents. Mentors partner with the young ladies and plan career, educational and personal goals. It's a relationship that demands total commitment from the young mothers.

"We encourage them, but we expect something out of them too," Broadwater said. "We want to see change because they want to change."

Gaither is now a mother of a 1-year-old. With help from the Teen Parent Mentor Program, she finished high school and is now enrolled in college. Her drive to excel comes from her child and grandmother.

"That's why I want to do what I want to do," Gaither said. "I want to become a brain surgeon, find technology to solve problems."

Sirraiyiah Dublin is also a young mother. The program gave her the confidence to earn a degree from a local college.

"Even though we are young and we have kids, they want us to finish school and go to college and they want us to be successful," Dublin said.

These young mothers could have been forgotten. But Broadwater believes in supporting others and sharing their success stories.

"Nobody knows what these young ladies have been doing. They are amazing young ladies and they turn out to be leaders of the program and in the community," Broadwater said.

Teen Parent Mentor Program participants are required to perform a service project and encouraged to share their experiences with new Teen Parent members.

For more information about the Teen Parent Mentor Program, contact Broadwater at (336) 273-3461 ext. 210.

The Teen Parent Mentor Program receives funds from the United Way of Greater Greensboro, Cone Health Foundation and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

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