Strong Beginnings, Millage News
Connecting with a Teenage Mother
K.K. is 16 years old and pregnant with her first child. She lives with her mom, sibling, and her boyfriend. She was referred to Strong Beginnings and the Maternal Infant Health Program by her obstetrician-gynecologist office. The Strong Beginnings Community Health Worker, Consuelo, was the first person to connect with K.K. and her mom.
Strong Beginnings is a federal Healthy Start program created in 2004 to improve the health and well-being of African American and Latinx women, men, and their babies, from pregnancy through early childhood. Strong Beginnings seeks to promote racial equity and eliminate disparities in birth outcomes between whites and people of color in Kent County.
Initially, K.K.’s mom was more interested in the Strong Beginnings services than K.K. Consuelo quickly realized that she needed to connect with K.K. also, on her own, to help her find her individual voice and to explore what motherhood would look like for her.
Consuelo was able to schedule appointments with K.K. and engage her in conversations about her hopes, dreams, and goals. Education is important to K.K., and she is exploring options to complete her high school education through an online program. Understanding that K.K. values education led Consuelo to provide education and resources about the importance of reading to children – as early as during pregnancy and after. K.K. has embraced this practice and has been very interested in other information about the growth and development of her child.
Teenagers often look for adult mentorship outside of their families, and the trusting relationship with a Community Health Worker can fulfill this need. Consuelo has built trust, provided valuable education, and helped connect K.K. to other services and resources. She is confident that K.K. will take care of herself and continue to prepare herself to be an excellent mom.