By: Diana Farias Heinrich, Communications and Marketing Manager, Teen Success, Inc.
Today, 22-year-old Julianna is confident as a mom and as a person, but she hasn’t always been that way. It has taken time, support, and encouragement for her to see herself for the amazing person she is. As a high school student, the world is hard enough, but Julianna's world changed dramatically and unexpectedly.
“My life changed directions [when I became pregnant] and I saw things differently. Now, I think, ‘How did I handle all that stress at 16’?”
At the time of her pregnancy, Julianna was a Junior in high school, and she was looking forward to going to college. She visited one university, but she felt like she didn't belong there as a mom.
Finishing high school was challenging and she felt like quitting many times. She returned to school while still breastfeeding her 3-month-old, Alana, and her only option was to pump in the school bathroom. After two weeks of the grueling work of pumping in an environment that didn’t afford her peace of mind, she stopped. Experiences like this made high school a constant struggle between the mother she wanted to be for Alana and the dreams she had for her education.
During this time in her life Julianna found Teen Success, Inc. Although Julianna’s world was shaken at the time of her pregnancy and after having her daughter, she took a leap of faith and joined the program in 2015. Teen Success, Inc. gave her a safe place to express herself and move through the challenges she was facing as a young mom going through school. “The [Advocates] were very motivating. When I thought, ‘Man, I can’t do [school] anymore.’ They said, ‘No, you’re smart. You can do this.” There were times she wanted to quit school and focus on working, but she found encouragement and support from the program Advocates and was inspired by the other young moms in her group. “I saw other girls who were doing [school and parenting] and I thought, ‘I can do it too.’”
Julianna’s words of advice to other young mothers going through a similar situation are:
“You can do so much more than you think you’re capable of. Look at me, I didn’t think I’d get my B.A. or be going after my Master’s, but here I am. And if you’re a mom and you’re on the fence about the Teen Success program, trust the process, because now I think, ‘what if I hadn’t gone?’.”
After she earns a Master’s, Julianna plans to become a licensed therapist and hopes to work with youth in school or in Juvenile Hall. She’s looking forward to getting married to her fiancé next year and Alana, now 5, will be starting Kindergarten in the fall.
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Empowering teen mothers, transforming lives
Teen Success, Inc. creates economic advancement for multiple generations, by partnering with young mothers to further their education, build life and career skills, and nurture their children’s development.
Teen Success, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Tax ID: 45-0702884
Get In Touch With Us
Headquarters & Bay Area Office
Sobrato Center for Nonprofits
508 Valley Way, Milpitas, CA 95035
Main: (408) 263-8330
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2909 Tulare Street, Fresno, CA 93721
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3626 Fair Oaks Blvd #100, Sacramento, CA 95864