Baby Steps to Brighter Futures
Submitted by Kathleen D
Teen moms are everywhere these days, from reality TV shows to tabloid magazine covers. While the media glamorizes teen pregnancy, Kathleen Dwyer '76 MA knows better. As a teacher, she witnessed the challenges faced by pregnant teens-and decided to do something about it.
Realizing the need for an early intervention program for teen parents and their babies, Dwyer co-founded Child, Home and Community (CHC), a United Way nonprofit agency based in Doylestown, Pa. CHC offers prenatal, parenting, life skills and prevention education to young people in two Pennsylvania counties, at 10 local hospitals and in 15 school districts.
"Teen parents are the most vulnerable parents in our communities," Dwyer says. "By educating and supporting young mothers, we can help give their babies the best possible start in life."
CHC sends teen parents a clear message: they should never give up on a bright future. School-age pregnant and parenting students now reach goals such as graduating from high school, going to college and landing a job.
Dwyer's passion for helping teen parents was fueled at Villanova. "Like all parents, they need support to be good caregivers and role models for their children-and build a better future for themselves and their babies.
"At Villanova, I learned not to judge others, but to encourage them to fulfill their potential-and do whatever I can to make that possible."