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New York City
October 2003

LYFEram: Giving Life to Teen Moms Prog
by Michelle Accorso

The ďLiving for the Young Family through Education ProgramĒ (LYFE) is an integral component of many New York City Public Schools. LYFE centers provide day care facilities for the infants and toddlers of students still attending school and provide for their specialized needs. Education Update had the pleasure of interviewing two young teenage mothers, Jennifer Gay of Brandeis High School and Christina Broadhurst of P932, who are currently attending this unusual program.

Education Update: How did you find out about the LYFE program?

Gay: I had a few friends that were going there, and loved it, so they told me about it.

Broadhurst: I just looked through a High School Application book and found it in there. So I went with my daughter, Brianna, to get interviewed and was accepted.

Education Update: How has it helped you?

Gay: I didnít have a babysitter, I couldnít afford one. The LYFE program helped me out a lot not only with watching my son, Kevin, but also when I ran out of milk they gave me money. They also provide medical coverage for Kevin and me. Not only that, but they teach Kevin as well. Iíll get him at the end of the day and heís learned so much.

Broadhurst: I wouldnít be able to go to school without it. Iím able to spend the same amount of hours in school as anyone else would and I get to see my daughter between classes.

Education Update: How old are your children?

Gay: Kevin is nine months.

Broadhurst: Brianna is seven months.

Education Update: How do you manage your finances?

Gay: Fortunately Kevinís father and I have remained friends and he supports Kevin a lot. My mother also helps.

Broadhurst: Iím 16 right now, soon to be 17 so I am still very dependent on my mother for money. The LYFE program does help with job placement, though, so I am looking into that.

Education Update: Are there any other programs you looked into before this one?

Gay: No. I saw this one, met with people there while I was still pregnant and didnít have a reason to look anywhere else.

Broadhurst: No, I was introduced to this program and loved it right away.

Education Update: Is there one person who has helped you the most?

Gay: Diane Whitaker, a counselor at my school. She teaches me to have confidence in taking care of Kevin and also mentors me in peer education. I volunteer every year to educate other students about HIV/AIDS and other STDs.

Broadhurst: Miss Thompson, my social worker, has helped me the most. She makes sure I go to classes, offers me suggestions and keeps me on the right track.

Education Update: What do you plan to do when you finish school?

Gay: Iím definitely going to go to college. I know that it will be hard but I will go to a two-year community college first and then once Kevin is old enough for school Iíll transfer to a four-year college or university. Iím sure I will manage. I have a lot of support.

Broadhurst: I want to go to college but Iím not sure where or how yet. I have to think about finances and caring for my daughter first and foremost.

Education Update: How would you have managed your future without this program?

Gay: I donít know if I even would have had a future. I probably would have given up. I know I wouldíve had a very hard time.

Broadhurst: I donít think I couldíve done this without the LYFE program. This is the best thing thatís ever happened to me.

Education Update: Did you have sex counseling? If not, would it have been a good idea?

Gay: No, I never had any counseling. I donít know if it wouldíve been a good idea. I may have been more careful but I donít know.

Broadhurst: No, I never had counseling but I donít regret anything. Iím happy for my daughter.

Education Update: Does this program give you courses on how to be a capable parent?

Gay: Yes, for a while we had parenting classes during our gym periods but that was difficult. Mostly I just get advice from Diane, my counselor. She helps me with everything.

Broadhurst: Yes, the LYFE program is very helpful. Without the LYFE program most teens wouldnít get to where they need to be. This is the best solution for my daughter and me. She wouldnít be as healthy or have such great social skills. #

City: State:

Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 1588, New York, NY 10159.
Tel: (212) 477-5600. Fax: (212) 477-5893. Email: ednews1@aol.com.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2003.