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Untitled - Angela Giles Klocke

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					Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                           Page 2

The Editor’s Desk                                                                             EMPOWERED
                                                                                             For Today’s Young Parent
                        I remember when the idea for this magazine hit me. I
               don’t recall what I was doing, but I do remember feeling an ex-              Publisher/Editor/Photographer
               citement I hadn’t felt in a while. The idea in mind, to me, was                    Angela Giles Klocke
               sure to be a success, something that would reach more young par-
               ents than before.                                                                 Contributing Writers
         Of course, then I got worried. What if I couldn’t pull off what I really          Erin M. Blakemore, C.B. Calsing,
intended to be a good thing? What if I failed miserably? What if I simply                Marifrances Conrad, Ursula Furi-Perry,
wasn’t cut out for it?                                                                           Norma Jean Howland,
                                                                                         Steven Manchester, Melissa McNallan,
          The truth is, this is exactly how I felt with each new child, especially
my first. When I was pregnant with Scott, I was only 14. I was sure, at first,
                                                                                          Mary Mitchell, Phyllis Edgerly Ring,
that I would be the perfect mother, as in, this was the role for me. Though un-              Catherine L. Tully, J. Wallace
planned, this was a great idea! And then I got very worried. What if I couldn’t
pull off being a good mom? What if I failed miserably? What if I simply
                                                                                          EMPOWERED, founded in 2005, is a One
wasn’t cut out to be a mom?
                                                                                           Young Parent publication. Published bi-
           14 years later, I still find myself questioning my abilities. I still won-    monthly, it is free to be distributed in full to
der if I’ll do a good job. I still hope I don’t fail miserably.                         groups, organizations or individuals, either in
                                                                                        print or on disk. Permission is not required to
         That’s what EMPOWERED is about, really. How to EMPOWER
                                                                                          share EMPOWERED, though all work is
yourself as a parent so that you will think those thoughts less often.                  copyrighted and may not be used in other for-
          Oh sure, you’ll still wonder, but it is my hope that this magazine will        mats without permission from the publisher.
help you grow and be the best you can be, each and every day. I hope you en-
joy it, use it, pass it around, and even let me know what you think.                                  Reader Feedback
                                                                                         Write EMPOWERED to share your
                                                                                         thoughts. Published letters may be edited
                                                 Making Mom Time: Simple Solu-
IN THIS ISSUE                                    tions to a Stress-Free You
                                                                                         for length and content/clarity. Writers may
                                                                                         request names be withheld from publica-
                                                 By Erin M. Blakemore—page 7             tion. Send letters to:
Helping Your Teachers Help You
By C.B. Calsing—page 3                           Know Your Role                          Mail:
                                                 By Steven Manchester—page 9
Defying the Odds
                                                                                               INFORMATION REMOVED
By Mary Mitchell—page 4                          Time Is of the Essence: Time Man-
                                                 agement Tips for Student-Parents
Great Credit 101                                 By Ursula Furi-Perry—page 11
By Melissa McNallan—page 5
                                                 9 Fun Family Activities That Won't
When Opportunity Calls
By Phyllis Edgerly Ring—page 6
                                                 Break The Bank
                                                 By Catherine L. Tully & J. Wallace—
                                                                                            IN EVERY ISSUE
                                                 page 12
                                                                                            Photo Brag Page—page 8
  On the cover:                                  Journaling: A Family Affair
                                                 By Angela Giles Klocke—page 13             COLUMN: Snakes and Snails & Sugar
  Young mom Kati                                                                            and Spice, Humor—page 10
  Wallace cuddles her                            ROCK THAT INTERVIEW!
  son, Cameron.                                  Job Interview Techniques That Will         You Said WHAT?! —page 10
                                                 Make Them Say, “YOU’RE HIRED!”
  Photo by AGK
                                                 By Marifrances Conrad—page 14              Support Group Directory—page 17
  Cartersville, GA
                                                 Program Profile: Teen Parenting            In Their Words:
                                                 By Norma Jean Howland—page 16              Advice From Teen Parents
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                              Page 3

                                                                                               when they see their teacher in a restaurant
Helping Your Teachers Help You                                                                 or shopping at the mall. Teachers have
                                                                                               lives just like everyone else. They also
By C.B. Calsing                                expect you to have a kid. You have to           have personality flaws, just like everyone
                                               give patience to get patience; if you want      else. Some may be judgmental, stubborn,
                                               them to work with you and make some
     O     ne of the best things you can do    allowances, then you have to be tolerant
                                                                                               or self-righteous. If you end up with a
                                                                                               teacher who, despite your best efforts,
to assure your children a bright financial     of their ignorance. Educate them as to the      still refuses to work with you, you need to
future is to pursue your education. This       best ways to help you as a young parent.        know the available choices. It will do you
doesn't mean having to finish high school.
                                                                                               little good to spend the entire semester
In California, you can take a test and get a   3. Let them know your childcare situa-          beating your head against a wall. Ask
Certificate of Proficiency, then enter a       tion. For parents, a problem with child-        yourself these questions:
community college or trade school. In-         care is probably the biggest cause of tar-
structors at these schools are more famil-     diness and absenteeism at school. Let           •   Is there another section of the class,
iar when it comes to working with stu-         your teachers know ahead of time, before            taught by a different teacher, you can
dent-parents and non-traditional sched-        the problem occurs. Do you use an out-of-           switch to?
ules. Just one class a week could get you      home provider? Do you have to wait for a
on track. Jeannine Nicole, a secondary         spouse or loved one to get home before
teacher in New Orleans, gives another                                                          •   Is there a different class that will ful-
                                               you can leave for class? Do you have to             fill your requirements (like taking
reason why education is important:             take your child on the bus to his or her
       "You need to work to make sure                                                              sociology instead of psychology)
                                               childcare, and then catch another bus to
your child is going to learn from you," she    your school? These are issues that should
says. "Don't give them an excuse to ques-                                                      •   Can you test out of the class?
                                               be explained to your teacher before you
tion your intelligence [as a parent]. You      miss a class.
have to be able to have the wisdom to ad-                                                      •   Can you put the class off until an-
vise your child about the different ave-                                                           other quarter or semester when you
                                               4. Remember, teachers have as many as
nues of life." The best way to ensure you                                                          could get another teacher?
                                               200 other students and can’t always
possess this wisdom is to continue your        remember the exact situations of each
education.                                     one. My suggestion for this is to give          •   Can you substitute a correspondence
       Regardless of whether you decide to     each teacher a cheat sheet they can put             course from another school?
finish high school or try something differ-    inside their attendance book, like a busi-
ent, it is important that you consider how     ness card. On it, give the name and age of                Most of these options are going
much information you should share with         your child, his or her childcare situation,     to be available to a college student,
your teachers. Here are a few hints that       any medical conditions that may require         whereas it might be more difficult for a
will help you get the most out of your         you to leave class, and your contact infor-     high school student. If you are still in
class time and your relationship with your     mation. Having it all at hand will help jog     high school, make sure to talk to your
teacher.                                       your teacher's memory when you come in          guidance counselor.
                                               late for a class or have to take a [discreet]             One young mother I spoke with,
1. Be honest! A few years ago, I taught at     cell phone call outside class.                  who has been going to college on and off
a high school for at-risk students. There                                                      since her daughter was born, almost 12
was something going on with one of my          5. Keep an open line of communication           years ago, had this parting advice: "Four,
girls, but I didn't know what. She was         during office hours and via e-mail.             five, six years goes really fast compared
bright, but missed class frequently, was       There is a right time for everything! Don't     to the rest of your life. If you desperately
tired, and didn't turn in assignments.         come in late and try to explain your tardi-     want out of a situation you're in, set goals
Eventually, my principal approached me;        ness during class time; there is nothing        and don't allow yourself to fall short of
he found out from her mother that this         more irritating to a teacher or the class.      them. Put a picture of a new car or home
student had a baby, but the student had        Take ample advantage of office hours or         on the fridge and think to yourself "I'm
refused to tell her teachers. There was a      e-mail to keep in touch with your teachers      going to have that someday"- and really
time when reasons existed to hide being a      instead. They take the time to sit in their     believe it."
teen parent, but today it is important to      office and wait to see students, and stu-
tell your teachers the truth. That is the      dents rarely come (except when there is a
first step to success.                         paper due or a test to complain about).         C.B. Calsing grew up on the Central
                                               Use those dead hours to create a positive       Coast of California and holds a bache-
 2. Understand that most teachers do           relationship with your teacher and to get       lor's in English and a teaching credential
not have a lot of experience with par-         help.                                           from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She now
ent-students. Although the world is                                                            resides in New Orleans, where she tutors,
changing, and more young people have            6. If a teacher won’t cooperate, know          writes avidly, and edits the literary
children, most high school teachers won't      your options. Students are surprised            journal The Deconstruction Quarterly.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                           Page 4

                                   In Their Words
                            Advice From Teen Parents
                                                                                                   “Always kiss your
       If it is done then live with it. Take every day with your child like it is
       your last, because if you are a single parent, then you know you wake                      children goodnight -
       up everyday with that fear. Shannon
                                                                                                     even if they're
       Concentrate on you and your child. Put the rest of the garbage out of
       your mind. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.
                                                                                                    already asleep.”
               Remember they grow up fast, so enjoy every moment. Holly                           -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

                                                     piness, despite our struggles.               been a better path for either my
 Defying the Odds                                              Today, we live in our dream        daughter or me, and I think, deep
 By Mary Mitchell
                                                     home in an affluent community, my            down, they know that.
 "You're far too young to be a mother."              husband makes a six-figure salary,                     The "your marriage will
 "You should get an abortion. It's just a blob of    and we have two other beautiful              never last" cynics must be in
 tissue, after all!"                                 children.                                    shock each time my husband and I
 "Your life will be ruined if you have this baby."             All of the "your life will be      celebrate another anniversary (15
 "Your marriage will never last."
                                                     ruined" predictors can only shake            and counting!) Not only has our
           If you're a teen parent, these            their heads in amazement when they           marriage lasted, but it has also
 words probably                                                                walk into my       been rich and wonderful. We are
 sound familiar.                                                               home, which,       each other's best friends, support
 Perhaps you've                                                                more often         system, confidante, and soul mate.
 also encountered                                                              than not is lar-   I thank God every day for blessing
 well-intentioned                                                              ger than their     me with such a perfect union.
 yet hurtful people                                                            own. Not to                  The "you're too young to
 who think they                                                                sound proud,       be a good mother" crowd surely
 know what's best                                                              but you can't      must envy the close relationship I
 for you and your                                                              help but feel a    have with my daughter, as well.
 baby. I myself                                                                twinge of pride    She knows she can tell me any-
 heard them con-                                                               when those         thing, and she does. Adults are
 stantly when I                                                                that predicted     amazed at her maturity, responsi-
 found myself preg-                                                            your downfall      bility and character. She is the
 nant at the age of                                                            turned out to      most sought after babysitter in our
 16.                                                 be so wrong.                                 neighborhood! Yes, I can proudly
          But that was more than four-                         The "it's just a blob of tis-      say I've done an excellent job as a
 teen years ago, and guess what? They                sue" naysayers are dumbfounded               mother.
 were wrong. Dead wrong.                             when they see the talented and de-                     The point of this is not to
          Despite my own worries and                 lightful young woman my daughter             brag about myself, but to offer
 misgivings (could I really make it in               has grown into. Star of her soccer           you hope for your future and your
 this world and keep my baby?), abor-                team and straight-A earner, it gives         children's futures. The next time
 tion was never an option for me. I                  one pause to think.                          someone tells you that you cannot
 knew that the life growing inside of                          Can they honestly look into        succeed, that the child you may be
 me deserved protection, and protect it              her soulful brown eyes and not real-         carrying is worthless, or that your
 I would.                                            ize it is this child's life that would've    life will be ruined, turn your heart
          I married my baby's father and             been snuffed out had I listened to           away from those voices and in-
 things were far from easy for all of us.            them? So much beauty and talent              stead give it to your child. You'll
 The one constant in our lives, how-                 sucked into the vacuum of a cold-            be surprised by all that you will
 ever, was love, commitment, and hap-                hearted abortionist could not have           achieve…together.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                  Page 5

                                            volving debt is the almighty credit         payments, one could purchase a
Great Credit 101                            card. Owning one department store           home. There are other factors, but the
By Melissa McNallan                         credit card or one general credit card      four trade lines are a positive start.
                                            (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, etc.) can               Lenders often look for com-
        H    ave you thought about es-      be beneficial to your credit score. It is   pensating factors when trying to help
tablishing financial security for you       not a necessary building block,             an individual with a blemish on either
and your child(ren)? Building solid         though.                                     his or her income or credit. Job stabil-
credit is an essential part of establish-            Having too many credit cards       ity can be an important compensating
ing that security. There are some ba-       can harm one’s score. Even if all pay-      factor. Being at the same position,
sics that everyone should know about        ments are made in a timely manner,          preferably with the same company,
credit, basics that I did not fully un-     too many credit cards can prevent a         for at least two years helps establish
derstand until I was 26 and working         person from making large purchases.         stability.
in the mortgage industry.                   Having too many credit cards is like                 Once a consistent income is
         The most obvious and diffi-        tying a bunch of heavy rocks around         established, a lender can then exam-
cult step to building great credit is to    your body before jumping into a lake.       ine one’s debt to income ratio or what
pay all of your bills on time all of the    If you’re already drowning in debt,         you make that others take. It is pre-
time. If that cannot be managed (I          you certainly are not alone. It seems       ferred that an individual pays no more
know, I’ve been there) try to keep any      to be becoming an unfortunate fad.          than 29% of his or her income on a
late payment from going thirty days                  Installment debt can be a          house payment or rent for a maximum
late.                                       great ally in building a solid founda-      total of 41% of his or her income in
         Late payments show up on           tion of good credit. An installment         debt.
credit reports in thirty-day incre-         debt is any debt that has a definite end             One of the best things one
ments. If your payment is received          date and that has the same payment          can do to boost lenders’ confidence in
and posted twenty-nine days late, it        required each month. A student loan         his or her ability to repay a debt is to
may not harm your credit. I do not          is the best installment debt to incur,      demonstrate an ability to save. If one
recommend the gamble, though.               because lenders view student loans as       is able to put down at least twenty
         Do you know your credit            investments in an individual’s future.      percent of the total cost on a major
score and what your score means? If         However, if one begins to struggle to       purchase, a lender is much more
you don’t have a score, it shows that       pay off his or her student loans, it is     likely to look on him or her favorably.
you have either not had an opportu-         time to have those payments deferred.       Having an IRA fund, a 401k, money
nity to establish credit or that none of             Both personal loans and car        market, CD account or investments in
your credit history is positive. Any        loans are forms of installment debt. A      stocks and bonds in addition to a sav-
score between 400 and 500 is consid-        personal loan from your bank can be         ings account with money in it is also
ered poor.                                  more financially beneficial than hav-       beneficial.
         Between 500 and 600, one           ing a credit card. It is best to take out            To begin building great
has some work to do but may be con-         a car loan with caution. Keep in mind       credit, sit down and examine what
sidered a worthwhile risk for a lender.     when purchasing a vehicle that they         you make that others take right now.
Anything from the mid-600s and up is        quickly depreciate. Compare rates for       Do you have current debt? If so, how
good. If a person has a score of 700 or     car loans; your bank may be able to         much money can be used to pay off
above, then it’s time for the lenders to    get a better rate for you than the deal-    that debt each month? How much
roll out the red carpet.                    ership.                                     money can be put into savings? Also,
         Another important step in es-               Another way to establish           figure out the debt-load that can be
tablishing great credit is to understand    credit without incurring debt is with       safely managed.
the difference between revolving            trade lines. A trade line is any bill                Set specific goals and execute
debt, installment debt and trade lines.     paid on a monthly basis. A trade line       them. It’s great to write them down
Which debt is best? What kind of debt       can be a phone bill, electric, cable,       on paper. It’s wonderful to intend to
do you need in order to earn the credit     gas or garbage disposal bill. Health or     follow through on what is written.
you require?                                car insurance, union dues, health club      Mark Walsh, an Australian Entrepre-
         A revolving debt is any debt       membership payments can also be             neur with a multi-million dollar cor-
that has no definite end date and that      counted as trade lines. With four trade     poration said that, “the road to Hell is
one can continuously borrow more            lines established for at least twelve       paved on good intentions.”
from. The most common form of re-           months without any thirty-day late
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                                              Page 6

When Opportunity Calls
By Phyllis Edgerly Ring                             swirled around me when I was a young
                                                    mom. This little scene exemplifies what I
                                                    find myself wanting to urge so many
          I    recently witnessed some master-      parents to do – slow down and simply be
ful parenting in action.                            present with your kids, because you have
            I was sitting in a café when a young    no idea how fast the time will go. Yes, I
mother entered with two preschool children          know this sounds cliché to young par-
and, while she placed their order at the            ents. And yes, there are unquestionably
counter, the children went to find a table. This    days when it feels as though life pur-
provoked a disagreement that made one of            posefully slows to a crawl to stretch us
them very upset. It’s always challenging to         out on some torture rack of parental hell-
respond to such things as a parent, tougher still   on-earth. Those moments when kids
in public places. What struck me most was this      reach their limit and spew it out in the
mother’s presence of mind in the moment, as         most public places aren’t ones we want                 told me the magazine was buying my story.
well as where her priorities lay.                   to preserve in mental snapshots for later view-                    I wanted to call six friends to share
            While showing consideration for         ing. They’re definitely a time when we feel            this hoped-for news, but I had more important
those around her, as well as her other child,       pulled into survival mode.                             business at the table where my son sat looking
she stopped what she was doing and gave her                    Yet, this mother in the café didn’t.        miserable. I joined him and asked, more gen-
troubled son such authentic attention that, sit-    Forgoing her personal reaction in favor of sim-        tly than I might have minutes before, why
ting several tables away, I felt a wave of com-     ply being present for her child, she also man-         he’d done what he had. It became obvious this
fort myself. She didn’t seem worried about          aged to bypass the explosive kind of scene that        hadn’t been an act of malice toward anyone.
appearances, or how she was going to head           could have ensued, although I don’t think that         From his small perspective, it was his first
this off, or whether or not to give him what he     was her primary motive.                                brave attempt to use the phone – what we’d
wanted. She simply focused on responding to                    Around the time our son was about           been encouraging him to do – and he appeared
his feelings.                                       the same age as hers, I was anxiously awaiting         to have failed dismally.
            I wish I had a photograph of what       a call from the editor of a well-known maga-                       That nice editor had provided an
this looked like. It would say more than whole      zine. He’d agreed to a look at a manuscript of         entrée to a different kind of interaction with
chapters about effective parenting, and I think     mine, and when, after a long time, I’d heard           my son. “The man told me he was sorry you
many of us would feel some younger, smaller         nothing further, I summoned up the courage to          didn’t stay on the phone so that he could say
part of ourselves longing to receive such treat-    call and ask about it and was told he’d return         ‘hello’ to you,” I told him. Then we talked
ment.                                               my call when he came out of a meeting.                 about why telephone courtesy helps everyone
            She dropped gently to his eye level                At that time, our son was nearly tele-      feel friendlier.
in the most unthreatening manner and drew           phone-phobic. Even when invited to speak                           “I’m sorry, too,” he said. When
close to him. With empathy in her eyes, she         with a grandparent or other loved one, he’d            asked whether he’d like to tell the caller him-
rested her hands on him as he shook with his        run screaming from the receiver and nothing            self, he looked uneasy, but nodded, and I sug-
teary tale of woe.                                  we tried seemed to make any difference, so we          gested he find paper and pencil.
            His body language reflected exactly     didn’t press it.                                                   “Crayons, too?” the young oppor-
what happens when someone gives us such                        You can imagine my surprise when,           tunist asked, and I figured, why not.
sincere attention. The sadness under his upset      as I prepared dinner while listening for the                       He sat at the kitchen table and wrote
was able to surface and he looked like some-        phone, I saw him dash toward it suddenly               a note that filled one side of a sheet of station-
one who feels acknowledged and safe.                when it rang. Stunned, I watched him pick up           ery with a single sentence of irregular letters
            When she moved away and left him        the receiver, look at it briefly, put it to his ear,   nearly an inch tall: “Dear Mr. ____, I am sorry
for a bit, he didn’t insistently force his issue.   and say cheerily, “Hang up, will ya?” before           I hung up and I will be more polite next time.
He’d been able to receive attention for his         replacing it firmly in its cradle.                     Your Friend,” and added his name. Preferring
feelings without having to turn volcanic, had-                 Those were long, frozen seconds             visual art over the written word, he embel-
n’t had to swallow them because of threats or       during which our eyes met in ominous silence           lished this with several small drawings.
shame.                                              before the phone rang again. I remember say-                       About a week later, he received a
            She set some sort of limit that kept    ing without too much emotion, “You will sit            postcard with a photograph of the magazine’s
him at that table on his own for a little longer    over there and wait for me until I’m finished.”        headquarters and a very nice message. My son
as he finished working through his difficulty.      I’ll never forget the uncertain fear in his eyes,      LOVED getting mail. He eventually came to
But a perceptible companionship surrounded          the way he looked alone and confused. He               feel better about phone calls, too.
him as she and the other child sat at an adja-      would later tell me, “I wanted to help you be-                     On far too many occasions, I let
cent table and included him in their conversa-      cause you were busy.”                                  preoccupation distract me from being present
tion. His quiet sobs faded, he began to eat the                I never expected humor from the             for my child first, from responding in a way
snack she’d bought him, and he eventually           caller. “After hanging up your manuscript so           I’d feel better about today. But at one juncture
joined them at the other table.                     long, I probably deserved that,” he joked. He          at least, life offered a chance to assess and act
            Being a nearly-empty-nester, I no-      asked whether this was common behavior in              on my priorities, and, thankfully, I not only
tice and respond to such things much differ-        small children (he was a new father), or sim-          managed to take it, but to see it in the first
ently than when two small children of my own        ply a customary greeting at our house. He also         place.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                             Page 7

Making Mom Time: Simple Solutions to a Stress-Free You
By Erin M. Blakemore                          ing the ground, if possible. Relax your              Every morning, take an affirmation
                                              upper body, stretch those fingertips and        slip from your jar and read it to yourself
                                              feel the gentle stretch through your lower      in front of the mirror. Repetition of these
         T   hree in the afternoon and your   back.                                           positive messages will help you face each
eyes just won't stay open. The baby is                                                        new day and its challenges with relaxa-
screaming for his fifth nursing of the day.   Cat Stretch: Loosen up your neck and            tion and confidence.
Your body aches as you drag yourself          spine with this feline stretch. Start on
over to the crib. How are you supposed to     your hands and knees, making sure your          Journaling: Everyone has something to
take care of this new baby when your          knees are underneath your hips and your         say – especially you! A journal can be a
body and mind are trying desperately to       elbows line up with your wrists. Breathe        great place to record your emotions, plan
recover from pregnancy and labor?             in, raising your head and pushing your          your future or just vent. Decorate an inex-
          All too often, a baby isn't the     spine up towards the ceiling. Pull your         pensive spiral notebook or blank book,
only thing a young mother brings home         abdominal muscles toward the spine and          and pick up a pen. Your journal is for you
from the hospital. Physical and emotional     round it upward before returning to a neu-      and only you – even five minutes a day
strain often follows as well. The series of   tral position.                                  can help relieve stress and help you re-
life-changing decisions and transitions                                                       flect on how far you've come. You can
that begin with pregnancy don't end with      Time Out                                        write without limitations or worries about
your baby's birth. Luckily, even teen                                                         spelling or grammar – just "talk" on paper
moms have inexpensive, natural solutions                You thought the journey of preg-      and give your emotions a safe place to
available to prepare you for life as happy,   nancy would never end, but now you've           rest.
healthy parents. Try these easy tips to       turned onto an even scarier road: the life-
lighten the load of new motherhood:           long role of motherhood. As a new               Meditation: Quiet time isn't just for gu-
                                              mother, you're experiencing a roller            rus. No matter what your religion or spiri-
Stretch for Stress                            coaster of emotions – excited one mo-           tual path, meditation can provide a quiet
                                              ment, irritated and frightened the next.        time that will leave you centered and re-
         Sneak away for a quick stretch       The best gift you can give yourself and         freshed for your tasks as a mother. Five
and reap benefits to body and mind. Your      your baby is the gift of a stress-free, posi-   quiet moments in the morning or just be-
body needs help recovering, and gentle        tive mother – and you can use these easy        fore bed are a great way to get on track,
motion will help you ease into a healthy      tools to give you the peace and confi-          even when you face financial or emo-
recovery from pregnancy and childbirth,       dence you deserve.                              tional challenges in your life as a parent.
and these simple stretches can be per-                                                        Light a candle or just close your eyes,
formed anytime, anywhere!                     Affirmations: One of the most powerful          breathing in and out steadily and focusing
                                              tools you have at your disposal is the          on your breath. Focus on a positive affir-
Shoulder Shrugs: This exercise is great       power of positive thinking. The "tapes"         mation, try to quiet your thoughts, or just
for stressful moments – a proactive solu-     we play to ourselves in our minds affect        let them wander. Say a prayer or recite
tion to the stress that can collect in your   the outcomes of all of our actions. By us-      your favorite poem. Relax and think
shoulder blades and upper back. Breathe       ing simple affirmations, or positive state-     about what it feels like to be you, today.
in and scrunch your shoulders up towards      ments, you can change the soundtrack of
your ears. Contract your stomach muscles      your days as a new mom from something                 Making mom time is like starting a
as hard as you can and hold your breath       downbeat and negative to an optimistic          savings account – every investment you
for a moment before releasing both your       and constructive reflection of your goals       make in yourself will yield lifelong bene-
breath and your shoulders.                    and skills. Make an "affirmation jar" out       fits to you and your new family. Stress
                                              of a coffee can or cleaned jar that you         and fear is normal in any transition pe-
Child's Pose: Connect with the relaxa-        decorate with ribbons or magazine cut-          riod, but you have the resources you need
tion your baby felt in the womb and get       outs. Then fill out slips of paper with "I      to get through it.
ready to stretch the lower back and thighs.   can" and "I am" affirmations like these:
Come onto your hands and knees, bring-                                                        Erin M. Blakemore is a freelance writer
ing your big toes together and moving                                                         based in San Diego, California. Her work has
                                                  • I can face each day with
your knees slightly wider than your hips.                                                     appeared in San Diego CityBeat and the San
                                                  confidence.                                 Diego Free Press. In addition to her work
Now move back towards your heels,                 • I can make my own decisions.              with the local independent media movement,
stretching your arms forward in front of          • I am patient and calm.                    she volunteers as a reproductive health and
you. Your buttocks should rest on your
                                                  • I choose happiness.                       goals mentor to at-risk teens through the
heels and your upper body should stretch                                                      BRIGHT Families Program. She is currently
                                                  • I can accept change.
across the floor with the forehead touch-                                                     completing her first novel.
                                                  • I can!
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                         Page 8

 Share your favorite photo with us!

 Send your photo and you could see it
 on our Brag Page, featured in every
 issue. Please include your child’s first
 name only, age when the photo was
 taken, and why you like the photo so
 much. By sending your photo, you
 grant EMPOWERED the right to
 publish your photo on this page, one
 time only. Please only send photos            Kati Wallace shares Cameron trying to lift his head at three months old.
 you have permission to send. Do not                                                       Photo by AGK Photography
 send copyrighted photos (i.e. photos
 taken by studios or school).

 Send to-


                                                       Your Brag Photo HERE!

 Angela Giles Klocke shares her favorite
 photo of her second son, Brian, when he was
 one year old. He is now 10.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                               Page 9

                                               mean, who’s raising whom? With the ero-                     “What’s the story with children
Know Your Role                                 sion, or collapse, of the church in the         raising their voices to their parents? I was
By Steven Manchester                           daily lives of our kids, where else can we      taught that if you can’t respect your
                                               afford to fail? Children NEED to take re-       mother, then whom could you respect?
                                               sponsibility for their actions. This, unfor-    And with that attitude, you’re destined to
         M     ax had taken enough. Jackie     tunately, must be taught. But there’s no        live a lonesome existence anyway. Who
was completely self-absorbed, had a real       time, right? Today, it takes the average        would want to share your company? Peo-
bad attitude, and was incapable of being       family a double income to survive. Kids         ple who are completely self-absorbed do
taught anything because she knew it all.       don’t see their parents all week, so when       not enjoy a successful life because life is
In short, she was a normal, healthy 11-        they do, parents are too guilt-driven to be     mostly about peacefully co-existing and
year-old. Max finally told her, “You want      anything but friends. ‘I don’t see my little    learning to compromise. But what if you
to run the show, then run it. For the entire   girl enough to be yelling or disciplining       were never taught? Is it your fault, or
day, whatever you say goes, OK?”               her.’ And I can’t imagine a better way to       your parents’?”
          Paula didn’t like it, but he         cripple a kid who needs these things to                    The lack of routine was starting
needed to make the point. He added,            become a healthy, normal-functioning            to make Jackie feel uneasy, but she stayed
“And all you have to do is listen to me for    adult.”                                         strong. “Everybody goes to bed late!”
ten minutes every two hours, OK?                         As they wrecked the house in          Paula cringed. Max could only smile. He
          Jackie nodded. The deal was          play, they ate piles of junk food, giving       threw on a horror movie and made an-
sealed. Paula grinned and shook her head       every fallen crumb an extra smash into          other bowl of popcorn. It was going to be
at the craziness. Max was confident that it    the carpet.                                     a long night.
wouldn’t take long to make his point.                     “It’s become nothing more than                   “The Bible says, ‘The man who
          Jackie ordered, “No school or        role reversal,” he said. “Children are now      holds back the switch on his children,
work today.” They didn’t go.                   ‘entitled’ and express themselves at will.      does not love them.’ Today, people con-
          Max took his ten minutes.            It’s a heavy price to pay, though. In pay-      fuse child abuse with discipline. They
“Without knowledge or experience, kids         ment, they’re cheated structure, discipline     hold back, take the easier road, and then
now call the shots and lead their parents      and a solid sense of security. Yet, without     wonder later why their children are in se-
around by their noses. If that isn’t bad       experience or knowledge, they think             rious trouble. Why not! Consequences are
enough, outsiders now have a say. If you       they’ve become the boss and act as such.        a new idea. ‘My child would never do
discipline a child who needs it in a gro-      Know your role, I say!”                         that’ is the last thing a parent should ever
cery store, there’s a fine line before some-             Jackie knew her role for the day,     say. Sheltering and protecting is not the
one may say something and speak out            and called the shots. They did everything       same as making excuses and cheating a
against it. This may prove a wonderful         she wished. It was frightening.                 young person out of personal growth and
opportunity to hammer a lesson home to a                  “Independence, strong-               a taste of reality; reality as they’ll have no
kid, but it’s also a way to get the cops       mindedness and similar characteristics are      choice but to face in a few short years.”
questioning you on abuse. Today, lawyers       not a fair trade-off for failing to learn re-              Jackie looked green. She
are pleading for kids to sue their own par-    spect, honor and self-discipline. Trust me,     groaned. “Can I go to bed now?”
ents. I mean, think about it: Whatever         the ‘one man show’ is a bad rerun. I                        “You’re the one calling the
happened to the days when you stole            mean, it’s insane! When did we become           shots, right?”
something from the farm stand, got             our children’s peers, their friends? When                  She stood, kissed her weary
caught by your parents, and were forced        did we stop being their guides and teach-       mother and turned to Max. She grinned.
to go back and confess your dirty deed to      ers, even as hard as that can be some-          “OK Max, I surrender.”
the farmer himself. Back then, the whole       times? At one time, not so long ago, it                     “Good,” he said. “Now, let us
village really reared children. But not to-    was said that children were seen and not        do our job and you do yours, OK?”
day. Today, the villagers are too busy         heard. Though I don’t agree with that ap-                  She kissed him and as she
worrying about themselves to take the          proach either, today, those same-aged           walked away, Paula whispered, “I think
time and effort. Whatever happened to the      people DEMAND things. I don’t get it?           you taught her good.”
days when people took responsibility for       Where’s the happy medium?”                                 He smiled. “Well, that’s good,”
their every action? And they say we’ve                   By the time dinner rolled around,     he whispered back, “but it wasn’t Jackie I
made progress?”                                Max had been injured while horsing              was talking to.”
          At the end of the first spiel,       around, Paula was exhausted beyond ex-
Jackie served candy bars for breakfast.        planation, and Jackie had vomited twice         When not spending time with his sons,
          As Max finished his third choco-     from all the sweets she inhaled. Collec-        writing, teaching, or promoting his pub-
late bar, he further explained his frustra-    tively, they were sick and miserable. The       lished books/films, Steven Manchester, a
tion and logic. “If a child chooses to ex-     house was a disaster, and people were           Massachusetts author, speaks publicly to
press him or herself at the risk of being      starting to call, concerned. Max forged         troubled children through the “Straight
disrespectful to others, is it worth it? I     on.                                             Ahead” Program.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                               Page 10

Snakes and Snails & Sugar and Spice—Humor
                                                     And again, they smiled po-
A Column By Angela Giles Klocke
                                                         litely while nervously          You Said WHAT?!
                                                         playing with invisible lint
                                                         and tugging at their shirt-    “Don’t let me lose this race!”
                                                                  We continued talk-
                                                         ing as things seemed to
                                                                                                 I was in full-blown la-
                                                                                        bor with my third child, and the
                                                         quiet down in the bed-
                                                         room.                          pain medication that had been
                                                                  "Kids are really so   given to me was really kicking
                                                         funny," one of the guests      in. So much so that I was un-
                                                         commented. This was            able to keep my eyes open. I
                                                         coming from someone who        was aware and unaware, all at
                                                         didn't have kids and had       the same time. I could hear in
                                                         never had the pleasure of      the background the Sunday
                                                         being humiliated by one in     NASCAR race, and before I
Be Careful What You Say                     public before.                              knew it, the words, “Don’t let
                                                     I agreed that they are so          me lose this race!” came out of
        E    very parent knows to
                                            funny and tried to steer the conversa-
                                            tion elsewhere. About that time, my
                                                                                        my mouth. I knew I said it, but
watch what he or she says. Once a
                                            daughter started up again.
                                                                                        I couldn’t seem to stop myself
child becomes of speaking age, they                                                     from saying it.
                                                     "I have had it! When you're
will repeat anything. And they will                                                              “Honey, this isn’t a
                                            18, you are out of here!"
only do it at the most embarrassing                                                     race,” said one of the nurses.
                                                     I just bowed my head. It was
times.                                                                                           “I can’t lose!” I said.
                                            true. I had said those very words and
          A few weeks ago, I had com-
                                            other variations for years, except                   I felt someone pat my
pany visiting. These visitors didn't
                                            never in an angry tone, as my daugh-        hand. “It’s going to be OK…” I
really know how my children are or,
                                            ter was now using. I have told my           don’t think they had any idea
in fact, how I am as a parent. They
                                            oldest son on more than one occasion        that I could hear the race and
were quite shocked when they heard
                                            that I was going to be at his high          instead they thought I was de-
my daughter playing by herself in her
                                            school graduation with his bags
room.                                                                                   lirious. And maybe I was.
                                            packed, ready to see him off to col-
          "You sit right there and eat or
                                            lege. Who knew the little one was
I'll lock you in the closet!" she fussed
                                            paying attention?
to her dolls.                                                                           What do you remember saying
                                                     My guests left that day acting
          I looked at my guests and                                                     while you were in labor?
                                            as if nothing out of the ordinary had
smiled painfully. "I don't lock them in                                                 What’s your funny story?
                                            happened, but the looks on their faces
closets, I swear."
                                            were a dead giveaway. They thought I
          They smiled back politely and
                                            was the worst parent of all time. And       Mail to:
acted as if they completely under-
                                            I haven't heard from them since.
stood.                                                                                    INFORMATION REMOVED
                                                     If there's a lesson in this, and
          "That's it! One more word
                                            there always is, I know that I should
and I will put tape on your mouth!"                                                     Be sure to include your name, if
                                            definitely watch what I say from now
she screamed.                                                                           you wish for it to be published
                                            on. Here I thought I was doing well
          Again, I faced my guests, my                                                  with your short story.
                                            by not cursing, but I've been proven
face getting more and more heated.
                                            wrong. More than anything, though, I
          "OK, once I did put tape on
                                            would love to be around when my
one of their mouths, but it was a joke
                                            guests have children. Wouldn't that be
and we laughed about it. Really," I
said, trying so hard to convince them.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                           Page 11

Time Is of the Essence: Time Management Tips for Student-Parents
By Ursula Furi-Perry                           friend—one week, you’ll take her list and       Turla says. “Look at balance as a series of
                                               shop for both households; the next week,        investments. Some days you overdraw
         Y    our homework’s waiting pa-       you’ll have the ex-                                                your bank account,
tiently. Your children are not. Of course,
by the time you finish feeding, bathing,
                                               tra time to study.      “Balancing your educa-                     and other days you put
                                               Form a babysitting                                                 extra money into it.
tutoring, singing and reading to your          co-op in your             tion and parenting                       Look at long-term
whole family, you’re too tired to do
schoolwork. Who has the time to go to
                                               neighborhood, alter-
                                               nating weekly and
                                                                      responsibilities is a tough                 trends to make sure
                                                                                                                  you ultimately aren't
school and parent?                             allowing all partici-   task, especially if full- or               going broke.” While
          Balancing your education and
parenting responsibilities is a tough task,
                                               pants to have an
                                               afternoon without
                                                                       part-time work is added                    you may not spend an
                                                                                                                  equal amount of time
especially if full- or part-time work is
added to the mix. Donald Wetmore, J.D.,
                                               the kids. When all             to the mix.”                        on each area every
                                               else fails, ask for                                                day, it’s important to
MBA knows the experience first-hand: he        help—family and friends may be more             allocate some time to each. “If any one of
attended law school and business school        receptive to helping out than you think!        these is out of whack, it will interfere
simultaneously, all the while running his                                                      with the others,” Wetmore warns. “For
own business and raising his small chil-       Plan ahead when possible                        example, health problems due to lack of
dren. “I learned quickly that there’s little   “All time management methods require a          sleep may cause lack of productivity at
correlation between the quality of time        little structure and discipline,” Turla says.   work and school, as well as lack of enjoy-
spent on different aspects of one’s life       Keep track of your school assignments,          ment of one’s family and social life.”
and the output received,” says Wetmore,        work-related deadlines, and any family
now President of the Productivity Insti-       events and activities you’ll attend. Have       Keep the rewards in mind
tute in Stratford, Connecticut. “I learned     at least two calendars: a weekly calendar       “There’s no intrinsic reward to anything
that success doesn’t have to mean spend-       to track your everyday activities and a         you do unless it is important to you and
ing more time.”                                semester-based calendar to keep track of        gets you where you want to be,” says
          In fact, the key is to use avail-    the big picture. “Block out the big, impor-     Wetmore. “Think ahead to the last day of
able time effectively. “A few high qual-       tant stuff first and see how much time you      your life—in each of the seven vital ar-
ity minutes one-on-one with the kids at        have left over for the rest of your priori-     eas, where do you end up?” Think of life
bedtime can make up for many low qual-         ties,” Turla recommends.                        as a book, Wetmore explains: every day,
ity minutes in the same room with them,”                                                       you’re writing the story of your life and
says Peter “The Time Man” Turla, time          Watch for signs of burnout                      adding a new page. Consider what you’d
management expert and author. Consider         “One cause of academic failure is lack of       like to accomplish in order to end up with
using “down-time” to boost your produc-        time and energy,” says Wetmore. Lack of         a balanced, healthy, successful, and joyful
tivity: chat with your kids while making       time, rest and sleep can quickly add up to      book.
dinner, study while doing laundry, make        physical, mental and emotional burnout.
business calls in-between classes, and         That will not only set you up for failure, it   Say goodbye to perfection
take a nap during your commute                 may also have other detrimental effects,        “If something is worth doing, it's often
(provided you’re not driving, of course!)      like causing fights with your loved ones        better to do it poorly than not at all,”
Both Turla and Wetmore believe that            and alienating you from friends and co-         Turla says. “Instead of demanding time
speed-reading saves hours on reading as-       workers. One good rule of thumb is to ask       management perfection from yourself,
signments, and Turla recommends re-            those you trust to keep an eye on your          simply demand progress.” Perhaps you
cording class lectures, then downloading       well-being. “If people around you are           didn’t get everything done on your list
them into your computer to save time on        feeling your burnout, chances are, you          yesterday, but you certainly continue to
note taking.                                   need to [take it easy,]” Wetmore recom-         add to your list of accomplishments every
          You may also buy extra time by       mends.                                          day. Let that progress propel you through
delegating some tasks. “Buying grocer-                                                         the tough experience of being a student-
ies and cleaning the house may be neces-       Try to maintain balance                         parent despite having little time on your
sary tasks, but you don’t necessarily have     “There are seven vital areas which need         hands.
to do them yourself,” Wetmore says.            to be balanced in our lives,” Wetmore
“Hire a college associate, a ‘gofer’ to do     says. “They include health, family, and         Ursula Furi-Perry is a nationally pub-
menial tasks for you.” While your assis-       finances, as well as the intellectual, so-      lished freelance writer and adjunct col-
tant mows the lawn, you’ll be able to          cial, spiritual and professional compo-         lege instructor. She attends the Massa-
study for your exams. If money is tight,       nents.” How you balance those areas, and        chusetts School of Law and is mommy to
consider a compromise. For example,            any others you may deem important, is up        a toddler son. She can be reached at
trade off grocery shopping with a              to you. “Balance is not a constant state,”
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                            Page 12

9 Fun Family                                                         are another yummy
                                                                                              setting a time limit. It's a fun exercise in
                                                                                              creativity that will get them excited and
                                                                                              maybe even discover some hidden talents.
Activities That Won't                                                 3. Dust off those un-
                                                                      wanted items that are
                                                                                              This can also be done indoors--you could
                                                                                              even model for them.

Break The Bank
                                                                      taking up space and
                                                                      round up the out-       7. Check out the calendar of events at lo-
                                                                      grown clothes to sell   cal zoos, museums, art galleries and other
                                                                      them off at a yard or   attractions. Many offer free days or re-
By Catherine L. Tully & J. Wallace              garage sale. If you don't have a yard or      duced prices depending on the time of
                                                garage, check with your neighbors. You        day or year. Some of the smaller art gal-
         S   pending quality time with the      can always pool your resources and have
                                                one big sale if someone is willing to pro-
                                                                                              leries ask only for a donation as an en-
                                                                                              trance fee, and there are often plays at
family is important, but when money is
                                                vide the space. The kids can help price       parks and other areas that are offered for
tight finding ways to stretch your dollar
                                                the sale items and put them on display.       free.
while still having fun can be tough. In
                                                The money you make can pay for a night
spite of the high cost of family entertain-
                                                out to get ice cream with the family, or      8. Do you have a green thumb? Set aside
ment these days, there are still ways to
                                                you can start a vacation fund by putting it   a nice spot outside for a family garden.
have fun without spending a lot of money.
                                                all in a special savings account.             There are many inexpensive plants that
What follows are ideas that are either free
                                                                                              are easy to care for, and everyone can
activities for your family, or low-cost
                                                4. Everyone loves an outdoor picnic, but      help to get the garden going and take care
things to do. Many of these activities will
                                                why not have one inside on a rainy or         of it. Herbs, tomatoes and lettuce are just
get you out of the house for a while, and
                                                really cold day? An indoor picnic is just     a few of the plants that can actually save
some of them are designed for those win-
                                                the ticket to ease the kids' disappointment   you money once they start thriving. If you
ter days where you are stuck inside and
                                                when they have to stay inside during bad      live in an apartment, why not try some
can't get outdoors. Even though these
                                                weather. Roll out a blanket for a picnic      container gardening? You can set it up
things are fun, most have good, educa-
                                                area. Make sandwiches and cut them into       indoors or on a patio or balcony.
tional aspects about them, too.
                                                fun shapes. You can use a cookie-cutter
                                                or just a knife to cut stars, squares and     9. Collect old magazines and newspapers
1. Local animal shelters need a lot of vol-
                                                circles. Keep the TV turned off, sing         to make collages by cutting out pictures
unteer help to socialize the many dogs
                                                songs, and eat off of paper plates (no        and words and gluing them to a piece of
and cats that come through their doors in
                                                cleanup!). You can even put away a few        heavy paper or cardboard. Don't have
need of a home. This free activity is not
                                                special items that you only bring out for     many magazines handy? Ask a local sa-
only great fun for the kids, but it also
                                                these "picnics," such as a bottle of bub-     lon or doctor's office to save some of their
helps make the animals more adoptable—
                                                bles or a favorite game.                      old copies for you. Each person can make
cats and dogs need to be around people or
                                                                                              his or her own, or you can do the cutting
they don't make good pets. When you go,
                                                5. A trip to the local park is nothing new,   and let the kids paste. Non-toxic glue
talk to the staff at the shelter and ask them
                                                but a scavenger hunt for things found in      sticks work especially well for this pro-
to teach your kids the best ways to give
                                                nature is a fun game you and the kids can     ject.
attention to their new animal friends. This
                                                play together. Make a big list that in-
will help them learn how to play with cats
                                                cludes things like pinecones, fallen leaves              You don't need a ton of money
and dogs safely.
                                                of a certain color, rocks, or whatever        to have a terrific time with the family—
                                                items the kids can find outdoors where        just a little imagination and a few ideas to
2. It's a childhood ritual: the good old-
                                                you live. When they have found every-         get you started. Try some of these activi-
fashioned lemonade stand. This can be an
                                                thing, you can examine your finds and         ties, or use them to brainstorm your own.
exciting venture for kids, especially if you
                                                talk about the hunt. You can also have a      You can make them a family tradition,
join in. Have them help with all of the
                                                special surprise for them if they find eve-   and have a fantastic time!
setup—making the sign, putting up the
                                                rything on the list.
stand and making and selling the lemon-
ade. One of the best learning experiences
                                                6. Why not try some art? Grab some pa-        Catherine L. Tully and J. Wallace are
is making change for customers. By stay-
                                                per, crayons, colored pencils or washable     freelance writing partners who met in
ing outside with them, you can make sure
                                                markers, and pads of drawing paper. Find      Japan. Both have enjoyed all of the ac-
the day is safe and fun for everyone. Be
                                                a nice scenic spot somewhere and let the      tivities in this article—either with kids or
sure to make a special batch of home-
                                                kids set up. Have the kids draw what they     as kids—so they know from experience
made lemonade just for the family to en-
                                                see. You can make it more fun by bring-       what a good time can be had by all.
joy. You don't have to limit yourselves to
                                                ing a kitchen timer or watch with you and
lemonade, either—home baked cookies
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                        Page 13

Journaling: A Family Affair
By Angela Giles Klocke

          In this day and age, families are
constantly on the lookout for ways to
spend quality time together. Some real
quality-time projects take real thinking.
Family trips are great, but not everyone
can afford to take them all the time. But
when you do, whether it is to the park or
on a mountain hike, you can work to-
gether to preserve the memory.
          My family keeps a family jour-
nal. After returning from family outings,
everyone gathers together and takes a turn
jotting down their day and what they
thought of it. We list the pros and cons of
each outing, and makes notes on whether            •    Family photos                                  Journal writing time isn't just
we would like to return again and what, if         •    Binder                               limited to after taking trips, though.
anything, we have learned.                         •    Blank Photo Pages                    We work on our journal after fun days
          The journal is made accessible to        •    Pens                                 of school, interesting days of work, etc.
the whole family so they can look through                                                    This helps the family also keep up to
                                                   •    Markers
it at any time. Once pictures from our                                                       date with how each other's days went.
                                                   •    Glue
outings are developed, we place them in                                                      Rather than just talking about our days,
the journal also.                                  •    Scissors (for trimming photos)
                                                                                             we are working together on a fun pro-
                                                                                             ject and making memories to last.
                                                        It's always best to try to work on
What will you need?                            the journal the same day as your trip, if
                                                                                                       Just as baby books are great
                                                                                             for reading once children grow up, a
                                               feasible. If not, make sure you do it as
    •    One (or a few) regular notebooks                                                    family journal will always evoke fond
                                               soon as you can. Little ones tend to forget
         OR;                                                                                 memories of the times in the past, as
                                               their excitement or what they saw if too
    •    Loose-leaf notebook paper                                                           well as the time spent putting it all to-
                                               much time lapses before they get to tell
    •    Construction paper                                                                  gether. It will always be a cherished
                                               you their thoughts.
                                                                                             family heirloom.

                                                   In Their Words
                                              Advice From Teen Parents
 I gave birth to my daughter on 12/9/00 at 28 weeks. I had just turned 19. My advice for teen parents is to
 have faith. There will be many people who don't think that you can be a good parent. However, you need to
 gain your support from those who do support you. Most of all, you need to believe in yourself. If you be-
 lieve with all your heart that you can be a great parent, then those doubts that others may have in you will
 have little if no effect at all on you. Don't let anyone get you down because you're young. You can show the
 same amount of love and compassion for your child as a person who is older can. People in this world need
 to realize that it isn't just teen parents who are unfit to be parents; there are many people considered "of
 age" that shouldn't by any means have children. People need to stop stereotyping teen parents and making
 them feel like they can't succeed because in all truth, they can. A teen can love their child and work hard to
 achieve great things. If anything they are learning more from their child/children because they are working
 hard against society to make it in today's world. All in all, HAVE FAITH, YOU CAN DO IT!!! Karley
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                           Page 14

ROCK THAT INTERVIEW!                                                                          tion, no matter how unjust, that she might
                                                                                              not know the unwritten laws of proper
                                                                                              behavior on the job, either.
Job Interview Techniques                      of employee who will call in sick all the                  What do I mean when I say,
                                              time because of your kid, or who will de-       "dress conservatively?" Well, for women,
That Will Make Them Say,                      mand too many scheduling accommoda-             that means wearing a suit jacket with a
“YOU’RE HIRED!”                               tions because you lack reliable child care.     skirt or with pants, low-heeled shoes, ho-
By Marifrances Conrad                         It's not fair for employers to be so judg-      siery, minimal jewelry (take out the eye-
                                              mental, but unfortunately, they are.            brow and nose rings), and just a trace of
                                                         Don't worry—once you're hired,       makeup. Cover any tattoos. If you wear a
         Oh, those pesky job interviews.      most employers will be delighted to allow       skirt, it should be at your knees or below.
You took the time to research the open        your child to visit your workplace. They        If you wear pants, they should pass the
position. You spent what seemed like          can fall in love with your cutie after          "penny test." If your pants feel too tight
hours creating a resume and filling out a     you've landed the job.                          when you bend over to pick up a penny,
long, boring job application. Now you                                                         they're too tight to wear to a job inter-
have to pass a nerve-wracking job inter-      TECHNIQUE NUMBER THREE: RE-                     view.
view.                                         SEARCH THE COMPANY                                         For men, a suit is always best to
          As a librarian and professional                One of the interview questions       wear to an interview. However, everyone
theater director, I've interviewed hundreds   you'll be asked is, "What do you know           understands that good suits are expensive.
of teens, including teen parents, for em-     about our company?" There's no getting          If you can't wear a suit, don't worry -- a
ployment. I've seen the techniques the        around it—you've got to know some               pair of dress slacks with cuffs, dress
brightest and the best teens used to make     facts, or you're sunk.                          shoes, dress socks, a button-down shirt
themselves stand out from the rest and                   At the very least, you should        with a collar, and a tie are just fine to
convince me to hire them.                     know when the company was founded,              wear to an interview. Men should also
          Let me share some of these help-    what the company specializes in, and any        remove facial piercings and cover tattoos.
ful (and easy) techniques for you to use to   special awards or notoriety the company                    I can hear you saying, "But I
at your next job interview:                   has received. You can find this informa-        don't have a fortune to spend on all these
                                              tion using a Google search and the com-         clothes!" So do what even celebrities
TECHNIQUE NUMBER 1: TAKE                      pany's Web site.                                have admitted to doing -- go to the thrift
NOTES DURING YOUR INTER-                                 Don't have a computer? Go to         store. Clothes and shoes at thrift stores
VIEW                                          the public library and use a computer           are cheap, cheap, cheap, so everyone can
           It might feel weird, but if you    there, or ask a reference librarian for help.   afford to buy.
whip out a pad of paper and a pen and         It's free!
take notes during your interview, you'll                                                      TECHNIQUE NUMBER FIVE:
vastly increase your chances of being         SECRET NUMBER FOUR: NOT                         STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
hired. Why? Because taking notes during       EVERYONE IS AS COOL AS YOU                                 As an interviewer, it's happened
the interview gives the impression that       ARE -- DRESS CONSERVATIVELY!                    to me—I interviewed so many people for
you are serious about wanting the posi-                                                       a job that they all blurred together and I
tion. It also lets the interviewer see that             I once worked at a library where      couldn't remember who was who. Oops...
you are a diligent person who will pay        a very talented teen mother interviewed         that made it hard to decide whom to hire,
attention on the job. Taking notes is one     for a clerk job. Everyone thought she had       didn't it?
of the easiest, yet most overlooked, tech-    wonderful qualifications, great references,                It's not just me having a blonde
niques to acing a job interview.              and a winning personality -- so why didn't      moment, though. I've heard many other
                                              she get the job?                                hiring managers say, "We interviewed so
TECHNIQUE NUMBER TWO:                                   Unfortunately, she was dressed        many people that we can't remember any-
LEAVE YOUR CUTIE AT HOME!                     way too cool at the interview.                  one!" What did they do? They hired the
          I have seen this faux pas enough              All organizations expect an in-       person who made the strongest positive
times to be able to tell you...please don't   terviewee to come to an interview dressed       impression. That's what I have ended up
bring your kid, no matter how adorable,       conservatively. The young lady in ques-         doing as well; when confronted by hun-
to a job interview.                           tion above flunked her interview the mo-        dreds of job applicants, I've hired the per-
          Bringing your child to an inter-    ment the branch manager saw that she            son who stood out the most.
view gives the impression, however inac-      was wearing a mini-skirt and a nose ring.                  So, how can you stand out from
curate, that you don't have the time or re-   Nobody cared that she looked fabulous --        the rest of the teens who interviewed for
sources to dedicate to a job. An inter-       what everybody cared about was that she         that dream job you want so badly? Two
viewer will get the idea, no matter how       seemed not to know the unwritten laws of        words—follow up.
unfair it may be, that you will be the type   job interviews. And that led to specula-                              continued on page 15…
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                        Page 15

           Following up is easy. The first thing
you should do is send a “thank you” card to         MORE QUICK TIPS TO ROCK THAT INTERVIEW!
the person who interviewed you (ask your
interviewer for a business card at the end of
the interview so you'll have the correct ad-        1. All interviewers will ask you if you have any questions. Have at
dress). Yes, a “thank you” e-mail is accept-        least three questions prepared in advance or you'll be caught with
able, but be warned—it doesn't make as
                                                    your mouth open and nothing to say.
much of an impression as a card.
           Next, you should send a short email
or letter to your interviewer giving a specific     2. Smile, smile, smile -- even if it's fake! It's a proven fact that inter-
reason why you are such a great match for           viewers respond more positively to applicants who smile than to ap-
the open position. Tell the employer about a        plicants who don't.
recent accomplishment of yours, or a facet of
your personality that would make you a win-         3. If you don't have enough money to buy interview clothes at a
ner in the job you're trying to get. Don't          thrift store, don't give up. Explain your situation to the manager of
sound boastful, but do sound confident              the thrift store -- many stores will donate clothes to you free of
           I assure you, these five techniques
                                                    charge if you can prove you can't afford to pay.
are quick and easy ways to make your next
job interview a successful one. Put these
techniques into practice and you will auto-         4. Practice job interviews with a friend or relative, and have them
matically become a cut above the competi-           ask you tricky questions. That way, you'll be prepared and stay cool
tion. It really is that easy.                       if the interviewer throws you a curve ball at the interview.
           Finally, please remember: everyone
is different. At an interview, have enough          5. Take a trip to the local library and ask the reference librarian for
confidence in yourself to allow your true and       some books about job interviews. The more you learn about inter-
unique personality to shine through. Employ-        viewing, the smoother you will be.
ers want to hire people with personalities, not                                                          -Marifrances Conrad
Stepford workers.
           Good luck and happy interviewing!

Marifrances Conrad is a professional stage actor, director, and writer. She lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband and their
four cats. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University
of Pittsburgh. She has worked with teen parents in libraries and theaters for many years.

Does Reading Matter?                                                          them, in that same sing-song voice. It always seemed to
                                                                              calm them.
          I began reading to my                                                         Now that they are older, the magic words in
first child while he was still in                                             this house are "who wants to read a book?" They all
the womb. Now, fourteen                                                       come running, even though they can all read on their
years later, we still read to-                                                own. Not only do they adore the one-on-one attention,
gether. Surrounded by him and                                                 but no one can read a story like a parent, I'm told.
his siblings, we always enjoy a                                                         Read to your children. And let them read to
few books every day.                                                          you. Take the time to sit with them and spin a tale. This
          I believe I instilled                                               is the quality time they need ... not that which many
my children with a love for the                                               spend in front of the television. TV has its place, but
written word by starting so                                                   not when reading a book together could be done in-
soon. Not only do they under-                                                 stead.
stand the stories they hear, but they are learning a wider vo-               Last, let your children see you reading. Not just when
cabulary. And my oldest has become a small spokesperson for         you read to them, but for your own pleasure. Let them know the
the world of reading. He reads faster than any child I have ever    worlds they will visit, the adventures they will take, and how
seen.                                                               much better they will be for having done so. Never let them think
          Children need to be read to. The earlier one can start,   reading is boring or unimportant, even if you don't like to read.
the better. My method of reading to mine while in the womb          Children build some of their greatest academic skills from read-
was because I knew they could hear my soothing voice. And           ing.
once they were born, I would read anything and everything to                 Have you read to your child today?                  -AGK
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                                             Page 16

Program Profile: Teen Parenting                creating such a program is doing intensive       who are concerned about the issue and
By Norma Jean Howland                          research. "Research, research, research,"        willing to lend a hand.
                                               says Hermus. It is important to obtain                      Once the program is up and run-
          The Teen Parenting Services          demographics for your area to find out if        ning, it is also important to keep track of
Program in Kingston, New York has been         you can apply for funding. The statistics        your own statistics, which could help with
helping young parents get their lives back     on actual numbers of teen pregnancies            future grant monies. For instance, in
on track for over 25 years. The program        will be an important element in determin-        Kingston, the Your Birth Program has
operates out of the YWCA and has served        ing eligibility for funding.                     made strides in preventing premature la-
thousands of teenage parents since its in-                Depending on your location,           bor among teens. The program, which
ception in 1977. Today the program con-        there will be different sources for fund-        provides home visits by a nurse, helps
tinues to serve about 200 teens a year.        ing. The program in Kingston receives            pregnant teens with prenatal care and of-
          "Some teen parents                                                   funding from     fers advice about what to expect in preg-
are out on their own," says                                                    the Youth        nancy and delivery. Up until 2003, the
Nan Hermus, Director of                                                        Bureau, the      program had a 100 percent success rate
Youth and Family Services at
the YWCA. Although paren-
                                     “There is no                              United Way
                                                                               and the De-
                                                                                                with premature labors. However, the pro-
                                                                                                gram had one premature birth in 2003.
tal support can be very im-
portant for teenage parents,         dry run for                               partment of
                                                                               Social Ser-
                                                                                                           "Not one of those births (up until
                                                                                                this time) had been under birth weight,"
Hermus notes that not all                                                      vices, for       says Hermus, who notes that this is no
families are supportive.
"They don't have a lot of re-
                                       being a                                 teens who
                                                                               are on public
                                                                                                small feat considering the high risk of low
                                                                                                birth weight babies among teens, largely
sources. For some this is it."                                                 assistance.      due to poor prenatal care and insufficient
          Both moms and dads
are welcome in the Teen Par-
                                      parent..."                               There are
                                                                               several Web
                                                                                                weight gain. Pregnant teens are 50 per-
                                                                                                cent more likely to deliver babies weigh-
enting program, and the                                                        sites that can   ing less than 5½ pounds.
youngest mother is just thirteen. Teens        be helpful in gathering information. For                    When it comes to teenage par-
receive assistance with prenatal care, par-    statistics on teenage pregnancy, those can       ents, there are no easy answers, but a pro-
enting skills, childcare, emergency sup-       be found at the census bureau Web site,          gram like this can make a difference. Of-
plies, job training, schooling, as well as, which will help deter-           ten, teens that suddenly find themselves
counseling to help with life decisions.        mine demographics for your area. An-             parents feel isolated and cut off from
Teens are encouraged to stay in school         other good site is the NOAPPP, National          friends because they are faced with enor-
and given the opportunity to work in the       Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy,            mous responsibilities that their peers just
childcare center to experience first hand      Parenting and Prevention, Inc., www.             don't understand. A program like this can
how to care for babies, in an effort to re-, and AGI (Alan Guttmacher             help them feel like they are not alone. It
duce child abuse, such as shaken baby          Institute), Both sites          can also offer much needed encourage-
syndrome. To prevent repeat pregnancies,       offer a wealth of information pertaining to      ment and support to help them be good
the program offers education and encour-       teen pregnancy, as well as federal facts         parents.
ages dialogue between partners about           and links.                                                  "There is no dry run for being a
birth control. The program also does out-                 "If enough of the population          parent," says Park, adding that the pres-
reach to the community to prevent preg-        needs services, there are several good           sure of parenting is greater when you
nancies, through education in the schools,     sources on the Web," says Hermus, who            yourself are still a child. "I never met a
and works in conjunction with YES,             says the Web can also be useful in locat-        teen who didn't want to be a good parent,
(Youth Empowerment Series).                    ing other successful programs to use as a        but it is difficult for them to do that and
          Something else the program           model for your area.                             take care of themselves. They all want a
aims to do is help teen parents learn better              After you have compiled infor-        better life for their baby than they had,"
communication skills. "We help them be         mation and decided on which type of pro-         says Park.
good advocates for themselves," says An-       gram might be best suited for your area,
drea Park, Executive Director of the           the next step is to talk to the community.
YWCA. "You can pick up the phone,"             Call up schools and community programs           INFORMATION REMOVED
says Park. "We show them their rights."        to find out what funding options are avail-
          Hermus, who talks about how          able for a program like this. Talk to com-
important this type of support system can      munity leaders and get support for your
be for teen parents, says the first step in    project. Most likely you will find others
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005                                                                    Page 17

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Parenting Support Group for Teens
Albert Einstein Medical Center
5501 Old York Road, Philadelphia, PA
This support group requires registration
prior to attending. Please call
1-800-EINSTEIN to register.

Ohio State Extension Office
Greene County
Teen mom mentor program, parenting.
Contact: (937) 372-9971

Program for Early Parent Support
(PEPS) King County
4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, Suite #324
Seattle, WA 98103-6900
Contact: Laura Farwell, Volunteer Resource
Manager, (206) 547-8570 ext.15
Web site:

It is much easier to become a father than to be one.
-Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man, 1994
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005

              Before you were conceived I wanted you
              Before you were born I loved you
              Before you were here an hour I would die for you
              This is the miracle of life.
              -Maureen Hawkins

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