Can you relate to this scenario?
You've been waking up every morning for the past five days feeling nauseous. You happen to realize you are two weeks past your normal monthly cycle. You just broke up with your boyfriend because you caught him cheating on you.
What do you think is going on?
Oh, wait, and you are thirteen years old.
You confide in your best friend, letting her know of your symptoms. She suggests you do a pregnancy test. You decide to stop at the drugstore, and instead of your normal candy bar purchase, you pick up an over-the-counter pregnancy test.
Double lines. It is confirmed. You are pregnant.
Tell your parent(s)
Tell everyone and risk embarrassment by your peers and shame from a community who believes in abstinence
Have an abortion
Tell your now ex-boyfriend
Talk to the school counselor or someone else at your school
Pretend you are not pregnant and just hope that it goes away
Drop out of school
All the above
None of the above
Other suggestions ______
Perhaps you cannot relate to the above scenario. However, every single one of our Polly Fox Academy students have had to face this exact situation.
For the past fourteen years, the Polly Fox Academy has been providing expert “wrap-around services” for pregnant and mothering adolescents in 7th-12th grade. I first got involved with the Polly Fox Academy in 2005 when I taught a holistic health and nutrition course. Currently, I serve on the board. I am very aware of the needs and circumstances surrounding our Polly Fox students. Young women come to the Polly Fox confused, anxious, abandoned, uncomfortable, and scared. They leave the Polly Fox feeling confident, secure, focused, supported, and knowledgeable of the steps they will need to take not only for themselves, but also for the future of their child.
Oh, and most importantly, they leave as a high school graduate.
Allow me to say that again – THEY LEAVE AS A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE!
Do you realize how amazing that is?
Thankfully, 13ABC news journalist, Brigette Burnett, stopped by to interview the recent 2017 graduates and the Polly Fox staff to learn about how they persevered to obtain their diplomas. She titled her news story “Adults and Young Mothers Move Mountains just for High School Diploma.” Read the full story here.
It is a blessing that the “22-Plus Program” is also a part of the Polly Fox Academy. This program allows people who are twenty-two years of age or older, who previously dropped out of school, to return to school and earn their high school diploma! Read more about 22-Plus Program here.
At our most recent Polly Fox graduation, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Then again, over the past fourteen years of Polly Fox’s existence, there has never been a dry eye at any graduation. Everyone sheds tears of joy and celebration. The Polly Fox Academy plays a vital role in our Toledo, Ohio community. Please take a moment to learn more about what our students are up to by visiting the Polly Fox Academy's Facebook page.
One last and final thought, for just one second, think of you daughter, your niece, or a young woman that you mentor and that you sincerely love and wish to succeed. Imagine them going through the dire circumstances that I describe above. Unfathomable, right? You see, when it hits home, it really hits home - as it should. I hope this article hits home and that you deeply empathize with each one of these Polly Fox young women. Let them know you care.
Perhaps after reading this, you feel something inside of you telling you to get involved at the Polly Fox. Listen to that subtle nudging. Do not try to hush it. The Polly Fox Academy could use your time, treasure, and talent. Contact me at here and I will get you connected to the right people at the Polly Fox.
Or, perhaps you would like to support our Polly Fox students with a financial donation. If so, we surely could use your financial support as we are shifting to a donor based model. Click here to donate or, if you’d like to speak to someone directly at the Polly Fox, please feel free to contact Joan Durgin.
Diana Patton is a Speaker, Social Justice and Integrative Health Advocacy Coach, Author and Attorney. Learn more about her by visiting her website, clicking here to read a free chapter of her book, Inspiration in My Shoes or read more of her articles, here.