For this episode of Community Conversations, we spoke with Autumn Williams, the founder of the Two Percent Project, a non-profit teen pregnancy and parenting resource center.
The center serves teens and young adults in Prince William and Fairfax counties.
More on the mission of the organization, from a release:
Our organization will be assisting clients in education completion plans, post secondary opportunities and resources, workforce development resources, and education on building and sustaining healthy relationships. We will be providing on going emotional support to our clients that does not just conclude after they have the baby. Upon completion of various tasks based on their personal goals they will earn credits to purchase baby items from our organizations “stock pile”.
Q: How did your operation get going?
A: I was a former teen mom. I got pregnant at 17. I had a full ride to go play volleyball at college, it was my dream. A week before I left I found out I was six months pregnant. So that pretty much halted my dreams very suddenly.
I found myself at kind of a standstill and my father ended up taking me to a pregnancy center. And I really liked the whole idea, and it really helped me – with parenting classes, material resources, but the staff there was a little bit older and I felt like they didn’t really know what I was going through. So I kind of ended up doing a lot of self-research for education and work and I ended up working two, three jobs at a time with my two sons.
And I ended up graduating college and pursuing my Master’s degree. And when I graduated, the idea kind of came to me, “What if there was that same type of center, but it was more geared to the success of teen parents” ran by people that knew exactly what they were going through.
Q: So who is your program designed for? Is there a certain age group?
A: Any teen that has had a child before the age of 19. And we will take them up until the age of 24. So if you’re a current teen parent or a former teen parent or are currently a teen that is pregnant we’ll take you.
Q: So what kind of classes or courses or help do you give?
A: We provide them with community resources, for education, school, work enforcement, material resources, peer-to-peer support as well as emotional support by our staff. We also feel that it’s very important that they connect with each other and become each other’s support system. I felt like that was really something that helped me when I was going through what I was going through – meeting people that were also parents. So I could go out and socialize and not be cooped up in the house and isolated. So we find that very, very important.
Q: Do you have any part of the program that actually tries to work with the teen father also?
A: Yes, we do. We actually have a teen father program that we’ll be launching hopefully within the fall. It will be called ‘Game Changers’ and it will also be ran by former teen parents – former teen fathers. So we hope that will be up and running by the fall at the latest.
Q: Even though you’re a relatively new organization, you have community partners already. Who is supporting you?
A: We have the Prince William Free Clinic, they’re a big support system – Prince William County Schools. Project Opportunity, it’s a young mother program in Fairfax County. Generation Hope in [Washington] D.C. – they help teen parents go to college.
Q: So you have quite a few of those types of organizations that are actually helping yours, so you must be offering something that they don’t have.
A: Yeah, it’s more of the moral support aspect on our end. And we’re trying to be able to be that out source and put them in those types of organizations that they need to be in, based off of their circumstances.
Q: So you have a fundraiser coming up. Why don’t you tell me about that.
A: April 15 – it will be at Freedom High School. It will be hosted by Sarah Frasier and Danny Star, and our special guest will be Javi from MTV’s ‘Teen Mom 2’. So we’re really excited to have him and he’ll be having his own team and the winner of our whole tournament will be playing ‘Team Javi’.
Check back for our next episode of Community Conversations.
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