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Statistics say that one in three girls will become pregnant before age 20 and the U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world. Because it’s tough for these teens, a program is offering practical advice and support, to help young women overcome obstacles and be better parents. Kim Riemland reports.             

 
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(Locator: West Lafayette, Indiana)

Eighteen-year-old Jamie Hurst is taking a break from her senior year in high school…to start raising a family. But being a teen mom to daughter Taelor is not easy.

Jamie Hurst/Teenage Mother: “There are times where I just go ‘Man, I wish we would have waited.’ Because I don’t know how I’m going to get through this next step.”

Jamie married the baby’s father and both work in a fast-food restaurant, so money is tight.

Jamie Hurst/Teenage Mother: “As it is, we don’t get paid ‘til Friday and we don’t have any money.”

But the journey for Jamie and about two dozen other teen moms and moms-to-be is made easier by Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) at First United Methodist Church in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Melissa Garcia/Member, First United Methodist Church: “They get funny looks in the grocery store and, you know, the ‘babies having babies’ comments that people make. So it’s nice for them to know that there are people out there that do want to help them.”

Speaker to group: “One thing that you need to plan for is unexpected expenses.”

Teen MOPS meets once a week with helpful advice on finances, writing resumes, and infant CPR. Moms get a break with arts and crafts, and a good meal. Members get credits for attending the meetings, then shop at the MOPS Mart for diapers, clothing and toys donated by church members.

Shoppers: “Angel will look so cute in that.”

MOPS members are encouraged to finish school, advice Jamie Hurst is taking to heart. She wants to get her high school diploma, attend a trade school and one day own a business to provide for her daughter.

Jamie Hurst/Teenage Mother: “The one thing that helps me is I look at that little girl and I know that I need to do things that are going to get me to a place where I can afford everything that she needs.”

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Teen MOPS also works with young women who are arrested and on probation. Sometimes they are ordered by the court to attend the classes.

For more information on the Mothers of Preschoolers program, contact First United Methodist Church in West Lafayette, Indiana at 765-743-1285.