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Maine Children's Home expands to serve parents in their 20s

The Journey Program offers parenting education, prenatal education, academic support, and a sense of community with others in a similar situation.

WATERVILLE, Maine — Some say being a parent is the toughest job you'll have, and being a young parent may add some extra stress.

A program in Waterville at Maine Children's Home focused on helping teen parents but is now expanding to help moms and dads past high school.

It's designed to help teen parents find the confidence and support to raise a child.

"We help build up their self-worth and confidence to be the best young parents that they can be, and they leave here with tools and skills to take forward in their life," Alaina Wolman, the program director, said.

Celina Mason, 19, had her 18-month-old daughter while she was in high school. Mason credits this program and Wolman for supporting her through high school.

"I wouldn't have graduated high school [without this program]. That's one thing I know for sure," Mason said.

She is one of six high school graduates taking advantage of the increased age limit. The mother said she wants to be involved as long as she can.

Mason said she exemplifies someone who has worked through the challenges of being a young parent.

"Some are struggling with a different struggle, but some are definitely going through what you went through," Mason said. "So it's good to be there and to be able to be like it does get better."

The Journey Program offers parenting education, prenatal education, academic support, and the opportunity to be around people dealing with similar situations.

"They're just stigmatized for being a young parent, and that makes life hard to navigate," Wolman said.

Navigating as a teen mom is something Wolman is familiar with. She joined the program as a junior in high school after having her first child. Now, it's her mission to help as many young parents as she can.

If you're interested in learning more about the Journey Program, click here.

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