By Posted 3/18/15 –Blackdoctor.org
As a society, we’re incredibly quick to judge teen mothers, especially African-American teen mothers, but the folks at the DREAM Girls Mentoring Program, Inc. are doing the exact opposite.
Founded back in 2008, Dedicated, Responsible, Educated, Aspiring and Motivated (DREAM) Girls is dedicated to “uplifting, empowering, educating” teen mothers between the ages of 12-20 through one-on-one mentoring along with workshops and special events.
It’s important to point out that although the Baltimore-based nonprofit provides assistance to teen mothers, it does not promote teen pregnancy in any way and actually works to prevent future pregnancies.
“Teen pregnancy is preventable, but I want people to know it’s not the end of the world,” says CEO and Founder Tamira Dunn. “Just because you are pregnant at a young age does not mean you can’t graduate from high school. It does not mean you cannot go to college and get a good job. It’s all about how you apply yourself so if you’re ambitious enough to keep going and not let your circumstances stop you, then you’ll be OK. Teen pregnancy will not be the death of you.”
DREAM Girls’ workshops consist of preparation for higher education, health and hygiene, etiquette, job readiness and parenting, of course. In addition to the workshops, the nonprofit holds various events throughout the year, including its annual “Dream for Success: Back to School Block Party” and “Dream Girl Talk,” which is a teen conference for girls between the ages of 12-18.
The panel usually consists of members of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho – and they lend their thoughts on the following topics: domestic violence, self-esteem, bullying, pregnancy prevention, HIV/STD awareness and entrepreneurship. The girls do not need to be pregnant in order to participate in these events.
The motivation behind DREAM Girls stems from Tamira’s personal experiences. “A lot of the friends I went to high school with [were teen moms and] they didn’t have a lot of resources, they didn’t have a lot of support,” she says. “So, I felt like there needed to be some type of program put in place that could help them. There are programs in Baltimore for young parents, but there are no mentoring programs for young parents. The mentoring they receive from our program is what helps them to accomplish their goals and create new goals. It was important for me to create something to show everyone that teen moms could be successful, too.”
As you can probably imagine, improving the lives of young girls on a daily basis is an incredible feeling that never grows old, something Tamira can definitely attest to.
“Seeing the girls succeed [is the greatest],” she says. “Watching them go from teen moms to young women with children – I feel like if I reach one, my job is done. Knowing I made a difference and that a young mom’s life will forever be changed because of my program makes it all worth it.”
To donate and/or learn more about the organization, visit the official Dream Girls Mentoring Program, Inc. website.