A disturbing statistic to report, the state of Georgia now has the seventh highest rate of teen pregnancy nationwide, but a facility in Thomasville is giving teens a chance at being the best mothers, no matter their age.
The Second Chance home is a place for mothers under age 20. Most come from emotionally disturbed backgrounds and this facility offers a nurturing environment for both the young mother and her child.
In 2002 more than 16,000 babies were born to girls ages 10-19 in the state of Georgia. Officials with Second Chance homes say that number includes those who were molested or sexually abused resulting in pregnancy against their will.
Arlisha Wildgoose of the Second Chance Home in Thomasville says, "They are not used to what a family unit should be. They haven't been exposed to a healthy relationship."
Second Chance homes offer an array of opportunities for girls in that situation. In addition to the much needed sense of family support, they are also taught parenting skills and work ethics.
Thomasville's Second Chance Home houses five residents at a time, but due to Georgia's staggering teen pregnancy rates, 230 young mothers remain on a waiting list.
Michele Ozumba, who works on adolescent pregnancy prevention, says, "That speaks to the fact that our eight houses are scratching the surface of the tremendous need statewide. We are proposing with the state to hopefully get three more homes in 2005."
Wildgoose adds, "One of the objectives of the program is to ensure each of these young ladies leave with a renewed sense of opportunity."
An opportunity that allows them to break the continuous cycle of abuse within a family, giving their babies a chance at a better life.
Thomasville's Second Chance home is one of eight in the state. It serves young mothers who qualify from 13 surrounding counties including Grady and Seminole Counties.