Second Chance for teen mothers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Second Chance for teen mothers

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June 23, 2004

Thomasville - It's almost unthinkable, a 13-year old mother, just a child herself, alone and scared, with no one to turn to for help.

"They're not bad girls and they're not promiscuous," says Arlisha Wildgoose. "These are young ladies that have been violated by people who they looked upon to be positive authority figures and role models in their life."

The Vashti Second Chance Home reaches out to those young mothers. They educate them and provide the girls with care and love that many have never known. Wildgoose says, "They can get the emotional support and the nurturing themselves. I mean, they're mothers, but they're also children and that's something that they haven't had."

The Vashti Second Chance home is just that, a home. The girls don't just live here, they become like family, watching their children grow as they mature into young women.

Michele Ozumba says, "We recognized that what we needed to do was to create a network of homes hat were more than shelter, we needed homes that could represent that stable and supervised and nurturing environment for this young group of mothers."

And the hope is that they will nurture their children in the same way, so the pattern doesn't continue.

Ozumba says, "They become the parents they didn't have for their children, and that's the beginning of breaking the cycle, and that's what we think is one of the most important outcomes of this program."

An outcome that can only be achieved when the young mothers are given a second chance. The girls can stay in the home until they are 21 but must be in school or be employed. More than 200 girls are on a waiting list to get into one of the eight homes located throughout Georgia.

posted at 5:48 PM by karen.collier@hotmail.com