Ossining, NY -- Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) joined staff from White Plains non-profit, Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) at Ossining High School on Tuesday to announce he secured $25,000 in state funding for WJCS.
The funding will go specifically to WJCS’s teen pregnancy program known as Young People Achieve (YPA). The youth program helps teen mothers at Ossining High School and from the surrounding areas by providing them with counseling, case management, and education about parenting skills and child development.
“We need to make sure if a teen becomes pregnant that she feels supported and has the necessary services to help prepare her for motherhood and finishing school,” said Senator David Carlucci. Unfortunately, only about 50 percent of teen mothers will get their high school diploma and that is why having the Young People Achieve program in partnership with Ossining High School is so important. An overwhelming number (85%) of YPA youth return to school or enroll in a GED and/or ESL program.”
“By supporting the WJCS Young People Achieve program, Senator Carlucci is helping teen parents get the support they need to continue their education and graduate from high school, develop positive parenting skills, and become knowledgeable about child development. We’re so grateful that Senator Carlucci recognizes the importance of ensuring the best possible outcomes for pregnant and parenting adolescents and their babies, and for realizing the vital impact of the workshops about healthy choices that YPA offers at schools, clubs, and community organizations,” said Westchester Jewish Community Services’ CEO Seth Diamond.
One teen mother who did not want to share her last name said the YPA program has helped her greatly by allowing her to continue her education at Ossining High School.
"The Young People Achieve Program has shown me there are other people going through it with me and that helps me a lot because I have anxiety about being a teen mom. There is a lot for me to balance. Through the program, I got diapers, a diaper bag, and how to books. Just so many things that would come in handy to me," said Ossining High School student Diana.
National statistics show 25% of girls who have a baby before the age of 21, have a second child within two years, further increasing their risk of living in chronic poverty and placing them at greater risk for health issues. In contrast, none of the teens who have been part of the WJCS YPA program have had a second pregnancy before high school graduation. YPA places an emphasis on making healthy choices and building healthy relationships, thereby fostering a successful future for the youth in the program.