Our young families often face a cycle of poverty that has clung on generation after generation. Today, that reality is greater than ever and the extent to which COVID-19 affects them today, and the extent to which we step in to help, will be passed down to their children too.
Right now, young mothers are losing their jobs, seeing their extended family’s incomes drop drastically, and trying to cope with family dynamics and stress that are hard to avoid while schools and businesses comply with Shelter-in-Place guidelines.
Teen Success, Inc. Advocates are responding to our participants immediate needs, and working with our young mothers to prepare for the future as the situation around COVID-19 changes.
In addition to empty food shelves, diaper shelves were empty, and there were no wipes or formula for their children. While Teen Success has been providing diapers and wipes for its program participants on a regular basis, suddenly the needs were immediate and reserves for the regular program schedule were kept quickly depleted.
Teen Success conducted an emergency diapers, wipes, and sanitary products drive for participants and their children and thankfully, the community was able to supply what participants needed. In one case, a participant has been putting her newborn in size 3 diapers until her Advocate dropped off the right size at her door.
How have the needs of Teen Success' young families changed?
While diapers and wipes are still hard to find and the initial panic has somewhat subsided, sheltering-in-place has taken a toll on the emotional and mental state of Teen Success participants.
Many are sheltering in place with large numbers of people in two-bedroom apartments and this is the norm for many of Teen Success, Inc.’s participants. “Everyone being at home is amplifying any existing negative dynamics,” said one Advocate.
Unfortunately, too many of Teen Success’ participants have experienced domestic and/or family violence and the statewide ordinance is making it harder for them to find safe places; a trend that is seen across the state. The focus now is on safety planning for these participants.
Can young families benefit from the government stimulus?
In most cases, no. Typically a young mother and her child are claimed as dependents by her parents and most do not file taxes. While some families may receive benefits overall, they do not come directly to Teen Success’ participants.
Teen Success, Inc. has been able to acquire $500 cash grants for some participants from Stand Together Foundation’s #GiveTogetherNow initiative, which is providing cash grants to families most affected by COVID-19.Teen Success, Inc. Advocates have are working with all our young families to help connect them to other emergency relief resources and aid.
Teen Success, Inc.’s work continues to change and adapt to the developments around COVID-19.
Now in the sixth week of shelter-in-place, and with a new order in place to extend it through May 31, Advocates and participants are partnering to find ways to cope to the best of their abilities. “Knowing we’re there to help calms their concerns because they know they can count on us to back them up,” said a Teen Success San Jose Advocate.
Teen Success, Inc.’s work continues to change and adapt to the developments around COVID-19. Right now, serving young families means helping young families cope with the crisis and its effects. Our mission is more important than ever – to help young families break free of the cycle of poverty, because in a decade we want our young mothers to tell their children that our community showed up for them, and that they are stronger for it.
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Empowering teen mothers, transforming lives
Teen Success, Inc. empowers young mothers to complete high school and persist through post-secondary education while nurturing their child’s positive development to ensure the success of the whole family.
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