A Path For Parents

TEAM Program Helps JHS?Students Succeed

TEAM participants reading with their children during the program day.

“The TEAM Program helps you find yourself. Sometimes you don’t feel like you fit in but at the TEAM Program I always feel accepted just the way I am,” said a TEAM participant who is on-track to graduate from Jamestown High School this year. “They have given me the resources to both care for my baby, obtain my high school diploma and go onto college to become a large animal veterinarian. It is a safe place where they help us solve all the problems in our life.”

This is just one of the accolades that students in the TEAM (Teenage Education & Motherhood) Program say about their experience. The TEAM Program, which has been in existence in Jamestown for over 40 years, is a collaboration between Jamestown Public Schools, the YWCA and the Jamestown Community Learning Council. The program provides a place for young women who are pregnant or have had a baby during high school to help them graduate and also to support them through new parenthood. There are usually about 15 to 18 students enrolled in the program.

The program has had great success. The program served 119 individuals (mother, fathers and children) and 46 families in Jamestown last year. Every senior in the TEAM program also graduated from high school last year. Every student received pre-natal care, had births free of complications and their children did not require early intervention services when entering school.

The program has multiple components. Students spend a half-day at Jamestown High School taking courses and a half-day at the TEAM Program. Jamestown Public School provides the TEAM program with the academic component including JHS teacher, Jean Brink, who teaches courses such as history and English Language Arts. Jamestown Schools also provides bus transportation for the young mothers and their children to the program. JCLC’s Janelle Paulson and

Director Michelle Cobbe, hold daily parenting classes. JCLC, through their PAT (Parents as Teachers) program also provide home visits with the new parents and children to help them learn and develop the skills they need to be good parents. The YWCA provides full-day, licensed daycare service under the direction of Lindsey Isaac-Lopus for the student’s children up until 3-years-old while they are enrolled in the TEAM Program. The daycare service allows students to not only attend class but to also be active participants in their child’s life by seeing their developmental milestones and participating in activities. The program also has a full-time Case Manager, Jordan Sigular, who works directly with the students and their families to connect them to the services and agencies they need to succeed in life.

“It is so important to have a program like TEAM for JHS students because 50 percent of teen moms drop out and never graduate,” said TEAM Program Director Michelle Cobbe. “With a program like TEAM, you are not just impacting one life, but two. Our goal is to ensure that every TEAM participants graduates high school and has a future path chosen, whether that is college or work. Most of the children participating in the TEAM program with their mothers will stay and go to Jamestown schools so we are providing early intervention in their lives to be sure that they are ready academically and socially to go to school themselves and have a better future.”

The TEAM program also recently received money from the ESPRI (Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative) grant, which allowed the YWCA and JCLC to create a position called PAT (Parents As Teachers) PLUS at TEAM. Melissa Mallaber works with students weekly after high school graduation to continue to support them in their next phase of educational, career and parenting goals. TEAM students have goals of college and careers but may need additional supports to make that a reality. This position is designed to support them in their next academic and career goals while continuing to work with developmental milestones for their child.

Students can be referred to the program through school counselors, community organizations or personal referrals but potential participants can also call the TEAM program directly to enroll at 664-5860.

“When I started here I had nowhere else to go,” said a TEAM participant. But in TEAM, I don’t feel singled out or different. I have daycare for my daughter and I can also still be with her during the day. They have helped me learn everything I need to know and where to go to get the resources I need including helping with my daughter’s health problems. It’s a safe place to solve my problems and it’s made my high school experience so much better.”