AURORA, Colo. — We all know how expensive it is to raise a child. In a recent report released earlier this week, the cost of raising a child up until the age of 18 years old jumps to about $250,000.
But, imagine how hard it is for parents who are only kids themselves. In an effort to break the cycle and get teen moms back in school, the Aurora Public School district is opening up a daycare.
16-year-old Clarissa DeHoyos has heard it all. “… At school, oh she’s the girl with a kid, oh she got pregnant.”
And being a teen mom, she knows it’s been hard. “It’s really, really hard, honestly, like it’s nothing easy but, it’s worth it because I found out I was pregnant, I was excited but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.”
Some hardship for sure, but she also credits her seven-month-old son Elias with getting her goals back on track.
“I want to be able to provide my son everything I can, give him everything,” Clarissa says.
In order to do that, she knows she needs to stay in school. That’s why she’s taking advantage of Aurora Public Schools’ newest Early Beginnings Program.
Anita Walker with the Jamaica Child Development Center explains Early Beginnings is about “providing quality childcare — infant through preschool — but also providing a place for teen parents to have their children while they’re in school.”
About a year-and-a-half ago, Walker did extensive research and found that nearly 200 Aurora teen moms are forced to drop out of school in order to care for their children.
At Early Beginnings, the goal is to stop that cycle and get them back in the classroom. The program provides free to minimal cost childcare for young parents who attend Aurora Public Schools.
“There’s more out there, it’s not the end of the world. It is certainly a hardship, but you have a responsibility to take care of yourself now and your child,” says Anita Walker.
Clarissa is on her way and she’s doing it not only for herself, but now for little Elias. “I’m really happy that I can continue my education and I’m looking forward to going to college.”
The Early Beginnings program still has room. It currently has 21 children enrolled.