The Dandelion Initiative

The primary objective of the Dandelion Initiative is to break the cycle of recurring teenage pregnancy among foster and at-risk youth.
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In the United States, an estimated 70 teenage girls get pregnant each hour and almost 1,700 become pregnant every day. According to the Children’s Bureau Administration for Children and Families, young women in foster care are more than twice as likely as their peers who aren’t in foster care to become pregnant by age 19. Of those who become pregnant an estimated 46% have repeat pregnancies by age 19. Research also indicates that children born to teen parents have a higher risk of being victims of abuse or neglect and eventually being placed in foster care. These shocking statistics provides evidence showing the importance of and the need for the Dandelion Initiative.
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Although there are many programs that have been created for teenage pregnancy prevention, the Dandelion Initiative, a free annual 12-month program, strives to not only break the cycle of recurring teenage pregnancy but to also improve the teenage mothers’ ability to be an effective mother. We empower them to make healthy decisions for themselves and their children. Just as the dandelion’s seeds are spread by wind and rain, graduates of the Dandelion Initiative will learn how to use life’s setbacks, not as hindrances, but as a means of catapulting them into their promising futures.
Upon completing the application process participants (referred to as “Dandelions”) will be enrolled in the program and paired with a “seasoned” mother who will serve as a mentor, providing guidance and support. Meetings will be held monthly at the RFA office. Certified child care professionals will be on-site during each meeting to provide child care services.
The program curriculum includes the following classes, workshops, and events which Dandelions will be required to attend:
  1. Hygiene and Etiquette
  2. Home Cleaning and Organization
  3. Culinary Basics
  4. Financial Empowerment
  5. College Preparation and College Fair
  6. Career Preparation and Career Fair
  7. Pediatric Health and Wellnessyellow flowers
  8. Sexual/Personal Health Fair
  9. Self-Esteem and Mental Health
  10. Self-Defense
  11. Mountain Retreat
  12. Program Completion and Awards Ceremony
Throughout the program Dandelions will have the opportunity to earn baby bucks which they can use to purchase items from Jaden’s Corner, a boutique of new and gently used baby items such as strollers, clothing, and diapers.
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Dandelions who successfully complete the program will receive a $1,000 stipend that can be used towards purchasing items for the babies or paying for education related expenses.