The excerpted letter below illustrates one of the many ways that North Carolina’s early childhood system improves the lives of young children and their families. Please share your stories.
My name is Ishmael Quick, a teen father participating in the Teens N Tots Program for almost a year now.
The future of our society depends on the children of today; caring for them now is the best way to ensure future success. All that we give to them will be given back. Teen N Tots is a service funded by Smart Start that ensures young teenage parents have the skills necessary to enable their child to reach their full potential.
I came to Teens N Tots through a referral from social worker at the hospital. I take pride in being one of the few teen dads in Teens N Tots because I feel like I get to set a bar for other teen dads. Anyone can be a father but it takes a real man to be a dad. I get a satisfaction like no other knowing that my son knows who daddy is. Along with learning to be a better father, I also needed a good social support system and found exactly that with this program. I could only imagine the difficulties I would face alone without their support. I am working hard to support my family and am pursuing a career in the military. Thank you for every bit of time and money that has been given. It goes to someone who needs it to help to make my family whole.
At this time, this program is the only teen parenting program in Cumberland County and serves over 100 teen parents; there is no other program that works specifically with teenage parents and their families. My child and I have benefited greatly from this program and would greatly affect me and others like myself if it ended.
Being a teen parent could have been the end of the world for me but Teens N Tots turned it into a new beginning.