Courtney Saldana and Ady Huertas gave a great presentation about serving teen parents at #alaac16. Ady’s program for teen mothers is amazing. The teens learned different skills over the course of 10 weeks. The library brought in different speakers to workshops attended by the teens during their regular school day. Topics varied from journaling, coping with mental health issues, career prep, crafting, and the most popular event: dressing for success. The latter took place at the local mall and each girl was allowed to spend $50 on an appropriate outfit for an interview.
So many libraries (mine included) are focusing on teaching teen parents how to do storytime with their child, about early literacy skills, etc. While that is a very valid practice, I think Courtney and Ady are on to something here. By forming relationships with the teen parents, the librarians open the door to more opportunities for engagement. The teens and their families begin attending more library events, such as storytime. It’s a win-win situation.
Some tips to consider: make sure you provide or address child care when you hold programs for teen parents. Also, consider providing bus tokens or some other means of transportation to events. Lastly, this program isn’t expensive. You can get local experts to donate to their time, city transportation to donate passes, and clothing stores to donate gift cards. “Take the Next STeP (Skills for Teen Parents)” was a great program and I can’t wait to take these ideas back home.