DESPITE the joy of becoming a young mum, there have been many challenges along the way, says 21-year-old Georgina Croese. She sometimes feels judged for being a young mother, and at odds with her child-free peers.
She is looking forward to meeting other young mums when she joins the WEA Foundation’s The Village program in Raymond Terrace, funded by an nib community grant.
It’s a chance to share experiences while learning about nutrition, budgets and parenting, involving mentors and specialists from the local community to support those keen continue their schooling or other study .
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 9,200 babies were born to teenaged mums in 2014, and it is a growing concern across the region, says WEA Hunter Foundation Project Officer Wendy Ratcliffe.
“We are seeing more at risk and isolated teenage mums without any support structures trying to deal with their own physical and mental health issues, unsure of how best to care for themselves let alone prepare for their new baby,” Ms Ratcliffe said.
“This program will empower and support young mums to make good health decisions during the baby’s first year, with the long-term aim of completing their own formal education to improve outcomes for themselves, their child and the community.”
Amy Tribe, executive officer of the nib Foundation, said The Village program was a worthy project offering better educational and health outcomes that can ‘’really make a real difference’’.