Dreams for Her Children

At age 16, Pam became pregnant and during her senior year of high school joined the Children & Family Resource Center’s Adolescent Parenting Program.  The guidance she received from her program coordinator and the support from the other young mother’s in the program helped her look beyond her obstacles and begin to dream about her future with her little girl, Iyana. In 2004, Pam Peak graduated from Hendersonville High School with a 3.7 GPA and received recognition as a NC Academic Scholar. That same year, Pam was also awarded the NC APP Graduation Conference Valedictorian Award for having the highest GPA out of 108 teens enrolled in Adolescent Parenting Programs throughout the state of NC. She had big dreams for her future. After graduation, Pam pursued and received a certificate in Accounting from Blue Ridge Community College.  Today, she owns her own home and has a career that she loves.  Over the years, Pam has continued her education and will be graduating this May with her Associates Degree in Business Administration!  Iyana has thrived in school and is now in the 6th grade!  She is also big sister to Lilyana- a role she takes very seriously. “Having a baby when I was fifteen didn’t mean I had to give up my dreams,” says Pam.  “It meant I had to work harder to achieve them.” Pam’s drive and dreams for her future combined with the support she received in the Adolescent Parenting Program have given her the skills to be successful and provide a loving and nurturing environment for her...

Child Care Costs Surpass College

By Elisha Freeman, Executive Director The average cost of child care here in North Carolina is $9,135 per year for infant care and $7,774 for a 4-year-old. This is more than the tuition at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, where tuition alone equals $6,392 per year, or Western Carolina University, where tuition alone equals $8,135 per year. It’s shocking, isn’t it? Yes, there are other fees related to college that drive the price higher, but we don’t often stop and think that, at a base level, child care is more expensive. Child care is a major expense in family budgets. Parents are rarely prepared for the cost, which hits at a time in life when they are likely at their lowest earning potential. Research shows that the cost of child care is, on average, at least 10 percent of a dual-income family’s budget and 34 percent of a single parent’s budget. I took a little poll around my office to see what two real-life scenarios looked like. One employee is married and both she and her husband work. They are young professionals with master’s degrees. Child care for their child takes 12 percent of their annual budget. They feel the pinch, but they have things under control. Another employee is a single mother, also a young professional with her master’s degree. Child care for her son takes 40 percent of her annual budget! This leaves very little to manage for housing, food, medical expenses, clothing, automobile or other basic living expenses. Like many parents in our community, she receives a child care social service subsidy to help her pay...