Page 42-THE HERALD, Provo, Utah, Sunday, April 18, 1976 •^* w .x•x•:«•:«*K«*w^ " Teen Mothers Program Aids High Schoolers JENNIFER HUNTING, left, and Connie Sandvik learn quilting techniques at Teen Mothers, a Provo School District program to help teenage mothers or mothers - to - be graduate from high school. Coordinating the project is Clavell Raty. By CHARLENE WINTERS Lori is married, 16 years old and pregnant. She has been attending Provo High School but feels uncomfortable there. For one thing, she hasn't felt well for a couple of months, has missed several days of school, and is getting behind. She no longer feels she has much in common with the other students, and feels extreme social pressure from her peers when she attends class. One alternative is to drop out. Another is to try and finish school and tolerate the ribbing and snickers she'll probably encounter; or she may return after her child is born. Teen Mothers There is another choice, however. She may join Teen Mothers, a program designed for mothers and mothers - to be be who are trying to complete their high school requirements and graduate. To be eligible, a girl must have last attended Provo City schools or currently be living in Provo; and she must be pregnant or have a child. It's strictly an optional choice for those who prefer to complete their education by another method than attending regular school. The program is in its third year and is coordinated by Clavell Raty, who works through the Provo School District, It began with two girls who received some high school credit while working with Mrs. Raty. Currently, 46 girls are enrolled and meet in Provo's Eldred Center three times a week to earn credits towards high school graduation. Some of the courses taught are the traditional ones required in regular schools: English and language arts, history and social studies, mathematics, science, physical education and health education. Some classes, though, are tailored to meet the specific needs of teen-age mothers. They receive homemaking programs which expand beyond the customary cooking and sewing courses. They learn child development techniques; money management; family relations and personal improvement; home management, which teaches them to conserve time and energy, and home improvement and home repairs. The benefits of the program are many. Kellie Clarke, one of the students, explained, "We have our own peer group here and can relate better with each other. For instance, if I were attending regular high school, I'd hear students talk about who was taking them to the next formal. We don't need that right now. We talk about things like 'do you use pampers or Mmbies?"' Boring Soap Operas Kellie was asked whether she would have dropped out of school had Teen Mothers not been available. She replied, "I did drop out of school. Then my mother, who teaches at Provo High School, found out about the program. I'm glad she did. Soap operas get really boring." Most of the girls have tight budgets and Teen Mothers presents a form of entertainment. Mrs. Raty has observed that some of the girls fix meals for their husbands together and have social activities together. "Most of the girls have withdrawn from their high school friends and have found new friends through this program," commented Mrs. Raty. Mrs. Raty feels it's to each girl's credit that she's attending school and trying to complete her education. Many of the girls are holding down jobs while trying to manage a home, and most cannot afford to pay for a babysitter. At this school, they can bring their babies and the rooms are full of infants in baby carriers and toddlers who crawl around the classroom. One of the challenges facing the instructors is to find classes that are applicable to the majority of girls. Some girls are 14 while others are 18; they have different levels of learning. In budgeting classes for instance, some girls catch on immediately while others struggle to understand even the basic concept. The girls also have different levels of motivation. One girl was extremely anxious to get out and did extra work to finish and is now attending Utah Technical College. Edith Goode, a girl presently imthe school, had been attending night school, but said it was "really a hassle." She., emphasized she was;-: determined to finish and would •:• have attended day school at? Provo High School if it had ;|: been necessary. |:| Girls who satisfactorily $ complete their general:-} education requirements;^ receive a high school diploma § in a meeting for adult high;:-: school students, which isjij usually combined with a Provo !•? school board meeting. $ Mrs. Raty has had several •:} inquiries from Orem, but |:i because of limited space and $ supplies, must limit her classes •£: to the Provo area. She noted $ that Salt Lake and Logan have ;.; similar programs, and for:-: many girls, Teen Mothers :£ provides a happy alternative in $ their educational goals.