LITTLE ROCK (KTHV) - It's the return of a Little Rock support group targeting teen moms and their kids.
The Family Development Center at Catherine's House closed back in 2004. But Monday brought a second chance for the organization and hope for a turnaround for young mothers with unexpected pregnancies.
Monday was the official opening day for the new Family Development Center at Catherine's House. It's near 12th Street and Woodrow in Little Rock in a non-descript building. But inside there is promise for brighter lives for these young parents and their children.
Kaylen Hunter picks up her eight-month old daughter Imani from day care Monday at the Family Development Center at Catherine's House.
"You had a good day?" Hunter asks her daughter.
Hunter is just 16 years old, a sophomore in high school and already a mother.
"It was very overwhelming, like when I first found out I was pregnant I didn't know what to do, I was scared, I didn't want to tell my mom," Hunter said.
It was a big scare starting to ease up now that Hunter's part of a teen mother's program here. There is daycare for little Imani and parenting lessons and more for Hunter.
"They do tutoring for the moms too, like I need help in some of my work, that's why I really like it cause it can help me and it can help my daughter," Hunter said.
"Our children are going to be our future and if they're having children at this age, we want them to be able to make good choices about how they're going to run this country," Director Brenda Hill said.
Director Brenda Hill says the personal coaching with these teen moms will go beyond the center.
"We want to model some of those techniques for parenting skills actually in the home," Hill said.
The kids will get help too.
"Brushing their teeth, going to the bathroom to getting ready to sit at the table for lunch or snacks," Hill said.
Moms, like Hunter, say it is all promise for the future.
"If they can help me with my work and I'm achieving to where I can finish high school, I can feel proud of myself that I'm doing something," Hunter said.
Hunter says that her goal is to finish high school and go to college at UCA.
Right now there are four moms on board with this program; leaders hope to get around 20 and start the parenting classes in mid-September. Hill also says that they plan to include community partners in the parental coaching, like banks and insurance companies.
Leaders are recruiting right now mainly from some Little Rock high schools. But they are open to other teen moms in the community. If you are interested in this program, you can call (501) 661-4001.
Hill says acquiring the new building along 12th Street cost around $40,000 and renovations came in at around $120,000. She says it was all a donation from Sisters of Mercy with St. Mary's in Little Rock, who were part of the first center that ran from 1994 to 2004.
Hill also says going forward they will be relying mainly on donations and fundraising to support the center.