Hawthorne High School
There are few challenges in life as demanding as raising a child when you are a teen parent. Many students at Hawthorne High School, which houses TAPS (Teen-Age Parent Services), attest that the demands of parenting often conflict with the demands of their education, and create tough choices that few truly understand. Cara Burton – a student at UNC-Charlotte, mother of a two-year-old daughter and mentor at Hawthorne - understands.
Cara, who is studying health care administration, is the founder of the UNCC organization, MOVE, or "Mothers on the Verge of Excellence." The group began mentoring young mothers at Hawthorne earlier this year. MOVE is a support group on UNCC's campus that provides an opportunity for parenting students to advocate for resources at the university that will assist parents in obtaining an education.
Cara is also a member of Safe Journey, a CIS program that provides teen parenting programming and support, which she credits for motivating her to attend college. She is now passing on the wisdom she learned from Safe Journey to students at Hawthorne. "I always wanted to make a difference in someone's life," Cara says, when asked why she wanted to volunteer at Hawthorne.
Kretania Morrison, Jessica Barron, Ashley Parks and Stacy Guinn are also MOVE mentors at Hawthorne who have worked tirelessly to provide additional support for Hawthorne students. The mentors often spend time with students outside of school sharing their experiences from college as well as being mothers. In addition to mentoring, they have made clothing donations and volunteered at activities and events at the school.
"In the past, Hawthorne students have had very few committed mentors that could relate to the challenges they face on a day to day basis," said Kimberly Barringer, CIS Site Coordinator at Hawthorne High School. "So we are very blessed to have this partnership with MOVE. I know their presence has had a positive impact on our teen mothers."
CIS is grateful to these young women in MOVE who are giving back in this way. Having positive role models who are accomplishing academic success while raising a child is surely encouraging students at Hawthorne to set their sights higher!