High Point University Student Sees Teen Mom Struggles First-Hand
The popular MTV television show “Teen Mom” portrays the difficulties many teenagers face raising children at such a young age. It’s a lifestyle filled with struggles to make ends meet, as well as obstacles to obtaining education and employment.
High Point University student Madison Wallace saw these struggles first-hand as a volunteer for the YWCA Teen Parent Mentor Program. Wallace served at the center as part of her biomedical ethics class taught by Dr. Amy MacArthur. The class was offered as part of High Point University’s new Service Learning Program headed by Dr. Joe Blosser.
“I would help the coordinator to cook dinner for these girls and then take notes and participate in the meetings. Different people would come in to speak with these girls about things such as health care, how to obtain child support if they could, and how to be confident and strong,” Wallace says. “I would also help to babysit these girls’ children when they were in the meetings.”
The TMPM program has been around in the Triad since 1984 and serves about 140 teen moms per year. Its goal is to help “teen moms continue their education, deliver and raise healthy and safe children, and postpone subsequent births until they are no longer navigating all the challenges of adolescence.”
Wallace says volunteering at the center has taught her about how difficult it is for some people to obtain health care.
“I was able to see first-hand that people are struggling to make it and get through the day in our local community,” she says.
She says her experience in the community has enhanced her own classroom experience.
“It is one thing to learn material in a classroom and be tested on it, but it is another to experience it with your own eyes and be able to reflect upon those experiences,” she says.
The Service Learning Program places students in volunteer opportunities that are relevant to their studies while encouraging them to develop projects that benefit the local community.