Monday: Center helps teen mothers
BY GINNIE GRAHAM World Staff Writer
Sunday, October 07, 2012
For 16-year-old Nidia Ortiz, there are days she doesn’t get to see her baby.
The mother of a 1½-year-old girl attends the Margaret Hudson program from 9 a.m. to about 3 p.m. then goes to her night job cleaning downtown offices until 11 p.m.
“My daughter is my motivation,” Ortiz said. “Before, I didn’t try as hard in school like I do now. I have to do this and try real hard to get a better job and a better education to support her.
“It’s hard, but I manage. It’s a sacrifice because I hardly have time with her. But it’s a sacrifice so I can have a better life with her.”
Margaret Hudson is a nonprofit program in Tulsa and Broken Arrow helping teen mothers graduate and get health and social services for their children. A child-care center with the capacity of 16 is located on the Tulsa campus.
Like most teen parents, many of the students receive some type of public support, such as food stamps, child-care subsidies and Women, Infants and Children benefits.
Director Felicia Rowland said the program serves 175 to 200 girls each year.
“In Tulsa County, there are about 1,200 girls between 15 and 19 each year having a baby,” Rowland said. “We’re only hitting the tip of the iceberg here.”
About 22 percent of Oklahoma teen moms have another baby within two years of the first which is why Margaret Hudson has a focus on prevention and birth spacing, Rowland said.
“We need the community, Legislature, parents, faith community and educators to help us with primary prevention,” Rowland said. “Margaret Hudson is here because students need us, but we’d love to be worked out of a job.
Read more in Monday's Tulsa World.