Taylor Collier and Dimitri Stoodley became parents to a beautiful baby girl, Nevaeh, in February of 2012. Taylor was only 15 and still in grade ten at the time. Having to deal with an infant child, and with her final exams fast approaching, she was determined to stay in school.
Taylor is presently in grade 11 but thought she was going to have to drop out due to having no funding to pay for a babysitter. Many different government departments informed her that because she was under the age of eighteen they could not help her.
She had applied for a subsidy program and was approved through the Department of Child Youth and Family Services, Central Regional Health Authority.
Taylor’s only option for having childcare was to go through this program and have her child enrolled in Mommy’s Daycare based in Swangers Cove. This daycare is a family based, regulated and licensed daycare but the owner/operator has recently decided to close for a short period of time while she is trying to upgrade to a level two early childhood education.
Taylor was devastated to hear that this was happening and was once again seeking assistance from various government departments with no luck. Finally she advertised for a babysitter and after a short time she was ecstatic to finally have found one. Still no money and no job, but with support and financial help from their families, she was relieved to be going back to school.
“I was very excited when a lady living close to me offered to take Nevaeh for me. It was such a relief to know that I could go back to school and that my baby was in great care. I can never thank Leeann Organ enough for coming through for me when things seemed so bleak.”
Dimitri Stoodley, the baby’s father, made a decision to go back to school in Lewisporte and take a trade in Powerline Technician at the Dietrac Technical Institute.
“I started in August of 2012 and should finish in May of 2013. I had to do something to get a better education and to help support my family better. I find it really hard to be away from her but with this trade I can provide better for my family,” stated Mr. Stoodley. “We were told by many people that because Taylor was under the age of 18 that there was nothing anyone could do for us.”
Taylor said, “Trying to keep up with an infant, go to school, raise a baby and still having some growing up to do is nowhere near easy. I am determined to finish school and I am just beginning my level two-year.
“I manage, just like many other teen moms, but I do wish things could have been easier so I could have enjoyed my first born even more without all the added stress of having to find a sitter to watch my baby and the financial issues that come with no money and no job.”
A teen mom faces more than just the bills and the baby. A teen mom often deals with becoming stereotypical in the eyes of those around her, strangers, friends and family.
Finishing school and working to support a child is a huge responsibility. In today's world, a college degree is almost a must for any good paying job. A high school education is even more important. If a teen mom still has to go to school and work, she has very little time to be a mother. The worst part is that usually that's what a teen mom really wants to be.
Most teen moms don't want to be part of the statistics. They don't want to be looked down on. They do want to take care of their child, or children, in hopes that they grow up to be strong people. They also want to show the world that they can be a good parent. It's just too bad that society sometimes doesn't readily give them that credit.
Raising a child isn't an easy thing to do and raising a child while the parents are still in their teens is even harder. When a teen has to deal with the day-to-day chores and responsibilities that come with raising a baby and trying to get an education, it can be very stressful on any teen.
Editor’s Note: The Coaster’s editor invited the Honourable Charlene Johnson, the provincial Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services to talk about programs that might be available to help teens who find themselves in situations like the one currently being faced by Ms. Collier. While realizing that the Minister cannot comment on specific cases, we were hoping that the Minister could talk about programs that might be out there to help teens that have had children and still want to continue their high school education. Minister Johnson had made no response to the request as of the deadline date of September 26.