A newborn can be a bundle of joy, a promise of new life. But motherhood can also come with life-changing responsibilities, especially for teens. Most teens don't realize how it would affect their lives financially, socially and physically if they were to become pregnant.
Teens Learn the Responsibilities of Parenting
North Star Youth Partnership, a program of Catholic Charities, provides recreational, leadership and service-learning opportunities to help youth build confidence, make healthy choices and engage in their communities. North Star’s Baby...Ready or Not exposes teens to the responsibilities of parenting in a hands-on way.
Youth Development Coordinator Kasey Shaver finds that teens are always excited to participate when she brings Baby...Ready or Not to their schools. Students receive the latest infant simulators that they must feed, clothe and take care of for 89 hours. These high-tech simulators from Reality Works® cry when they need something and give teens an example of what a real baby’s schedule would be like.
Understanding the Consequences of Teen Pregnancy
Recently, Kasey caught up with a past participant, Riley Rayfield. Riley participated in the Baby...Ready or Not program in 2017, as an 8th grader in Prescott, Ariz. She agreed that taking an infant simulator home gave her a better understanding of what it would be like to be a teen parent.
"Babies cry a lot and you don't get much sleep! It was honestly such an eye-opening experience for me and made me think about the consequences of my actions later," Riley said of her experience.
Feeling Prepared for Adulthood
Riley also agreed that Baby...Ready or Not helped her deal with the pressures of sex and know how to determine when she was ready to be sexually active. "[It] made me think more about who I dated and if something were to happen, if they would make an okay parent," said Riley.
Now Riley is an adult, married and has a beautiful baby of her own. She is grateful that Baby...Ready or Not helped her prepare for her pregnancy and motherhood.
If you’d like to support North Star’s work in preventing teen pregnancy, giving online is a great way to ensure teens receive the tools and education they need to become confident adults.