With Anson County ranking 12 out of 100 counties for teen pregnancies in 2011, Teen Information and Parenting Services (TIPS) is working to educate teen parents and help prevent future adolescent pregnancies.
TIPS, a service offered by the Anson County Partnership for Children, “serves adolescents who are pregnant or parenting their first child and their children,” according to its website. Teens in the program have several requirements they must meet, such as meeting attendance, but reap benefits according to their cooperation.
One program requirement is that attendees go to monthly TIPS meetings held at Anson High School. One attendee at the Dec. 3 meeting, Enfiniti Watson, said she appreciates the program, which includes helpful trips to locations such as colleges and universities.
Watson, who has been in TIPS for almost two years, said that the program as been great for her and her 1-year-old daughter, Amiyah. “With the Partnership, we have different things we can do, such as check different stuff out for our children and get transportation to where we need to go,” Watson said. “Ms. Caroline [Hightower] is a good person because, like, if you need to talk about something she’ll talk to you if you need something. Sometimes the money we get for her to take us places she doesn’t even use it, she does it out of the kindness of her heart.”
Hightower, the TIPS coordinator, “could be fussing at us but she talks to us in a kind manner,” Watson said. “If we get loud with her or we fuss with her she won’t fuss back, she’ll just say what she’s got to say and be done. So that’s another good reason why she’s so good to us, because she could hold a grudge but she don’t. And we have Ms. Adams; she helps with transportation, too. She’s nice and quiet.” Watson praised both women extensively.
The program offers a wealth of resources, according to Watson. “The only way you can get that stuff is if you attend the meetings like we’re supposed to,” she said. “Like with me, I don’t miss meetings, so anything I need out of that room I can get. But as for somebody who just comes to the meeting sometimes, as opposed to all the time, they won’t get it, they just get what they get here.” At the meetings, trips and home visits the young parents get diapers and, sometimes, baby wipes.
Watson also praised the standards TIPS holds for the daycare the young parents use, saying that they provide subsidy only for four- or five-star daycares, making it a trusted resource. The parents are also shown a website where they can see their children’s happenings in the daycare.
“It really is a good program,” Watson said. “It helps you mature a lot.” She and another girl in the program have the same “baby daddy,” which Watson said could have caused jealousy difficulties, but she appreciated Hightower checking with her to see if there would be a conflict. Watson, however, said she was “mature about it, since [the other girl] probably needed it as much as I do… you don’t want to take away from what somebody else can gain.”
The program currently has about 13 girls in the group. Hightower invited the girls to bring their parents, grandparents and/or the fathers of their children to the meetings, which educate the girls on childcare, using resources, life management and more. At the Tuesday meeting the girls practiced making phone calls to businesses and using phone books, learning about local resources and information-gathering, and more. Each girl who attended received diapers for their child, as well as an extensive resource list.
TIPS offers a variety of resources to teen parents, including but not limited to: transportation to doctors appointments, Social Services, etc., child care subsidy for four- or five-star facilities, diapers, wipes, books, information, and more. Some requirements for the participants include staying in school or working on a GED, attending monthly meetings, cooperating with home visits, and avoiding another pregnancy.
For more information on TIPS, visit the Partnership’s website at www.ansonchildren.org, call 704-694-4036 or stop by at 117 S. Greene St. in Wadesboro.