New Teen Parents Forced to Grow Up Fast

Mahogany attends TAPP, or the Teenage Parent Program, a special school for pregnant and parenting girls in Louisville. For 39 years, TAPP has provided nursery services for babies while their moms are in school, as well as crucial education and a nurturing environment for the mothers themselves -- even the lockers here are pink.

It's a lifeline for someone like Mahogany who might otherwise sink under the overwhelming responsibility of raising little Khaesyn mostly on her own.

Mahogany's mother was a teen parent but Mahogany is determined that the cycle will stop with her son. "It's really hard because I'm determined to do school and then sometimes I feel like going crazy. But you know, I have to do it. I don't have a choice...It's not like I can just go back in time and it never happened. It's happened, so I have to keep going."

Mahogany keeps daily school journals filled with her homework assignments right next to her doctor's appointments and after-school job interviews. She circles inspirational quotes in the journals, like this one from Mia Hamm: "The backbone of success is usually found in...hard work, determination, good planning, and perseverance," which keep her motivated to accomplish bigger things in her life.

Unlike Mahogany, high school student Aliki has help from her baby's father. As a sophomore two years ago, she became pregnant just a few weeks after she started dating Jeremy. They used birth control pills and condoms but somewhere along the way, something went wrong.

"When it started off we did every precaution we could to prevent it, except abstinence," says Jeremy, who nevertheless has no regrets about the outcome. "I can't look at Carter and be like, 'you're a mistake,' that's impossible for me to do, I love that little boy so much."

Teens Struggle to Raise Newborn

"I was confused, I was mortified, all I could think was, 'Oh my God, I'm a sophomore. What am I gonna do? How am I gonna get through this?'"

Jeremy and Aliki now raise 18-month-old Carter together, while trying to graduate from high school. Along with four dogs, two cats and a bird, the couple and their child live with Aliki's parents in a working-class town in Massachusetts.

Jeremy, who grew up without a father, works 40 to 50 hours a week at a local pub, while trying to balance his new family and school.

"Right now I'm trying my hardest, it's not a matter of 'Can I?' It's a matter of 'Am I willing to try and get it done?', because you can do anything if you're willing to put the amount of effort needed to get it done."

Educating Teens About Sex

Trying to "get it done" -- the hard work of teaching teens about sexuality, and arming them with information -- is the job of educators Carol Ireland and Tonya Waite, who are on opposite sides of the sex education debate. In a country divided over how to best educate today's youth about sex, the debate squares off over two main questions: how much information is too much, and how should that information be presented?

Carol Ireland is the pregnancy and parenting teen specialist for Haverhill Public Schools, where Aliki and Jeremy attend. A nurse by profession and "savior" by reputation, she's reached hundreds of teens in over 17 years in the public school system.

Her door always open, Ireland, is at the forefront of educating teens about sex, providing vital information for her students in a way that many of their parents aren't able or willing to do.

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