Jasmine’s Story: Hope Academy a turning point
Seventeen-year-old Jasmine* had a lot of distractions. She lived with ten family members in a three-bedroom house, worked so she’d have money for shopping and spent free time with her 18-year-old boyfriend. School just wasn’t a priority.
It didn’t help that a new distraction—bigger than any other—was on the way. Just when Jasmine was about to break up with her boyfriend, she discovered she was pregnant.
Jasmine’s parents learned of the pregnancy when her clinic sent paperwork to her home. “They were pushing me to get an abortion; they even offered to pay for it,” Jasmine says. “I think I would have done it but when I went to my ultrasound, I saw a baby. The fact that she was already a little human being—I couldn’t do it.”
Her family stopped supporting her at that point, and Jasmine went to live with her boyfriend in a small, dingy apartment eight miles from her school.
As Jasmine’s pregnant belly grew, so did the nausea and gossip among classmates. Every day, she worried how she would get home from school. All things considered, it was easier to skip school.
Fortunately, Jasmine didn’t skip clinic appointments. A social worker there helped her connect with Hope Academy, a program at Family & Children’s Center that provides teen parents the opportunity to complete a high school education. Teen moms bring their babies to school with them where, in addition to academics, moms spend time each day engaging with and caring for their children with instructors there to model.
Jasmine enrolled at Hope Academy in late fall of her senior year of high school. By December, she was already catching up on credits.
Seeing the numerous stressors facing Jasmine, Hope Academy faculty helped her enroll in Healthy Families, Family & Children’s Center’s home visiting program . Jasmine now has a family systems specialist who helps her monitor her baby’s development and access needed resources to achieve a healthy future for her baby and herself.
Jasmine graduated in May. She lives in a better place, and she’s excited to study nursing this fall at Western Technical College. She’s setting new goals with her family systems specialist and collaborating with a Birth to 3 program. She’s also learning to drive.
“Family & Children’s Center gave me a whole new future. “If I didn’t have all this help, I wouldn’t be able to provide for Ava the way every child deserves. Everything changed when I came here. Now life is really good.”
*Names changed to protect privacy.