Awaiting the birth of a child takes a lot of preparation and a lot of needed supplies. One of which, as every parent knows, is diapers.
As part of its “Project Layette,” Glen Ellyn Junior Woman’s Club members will answer the call as they donate diapers and other baby items to Teen Parent Connection this Thursday during a member’s only meeting.
Teen Parent Connection is a Glen Ellyn-based nonprofit which educates clients ages 12 -22 about the responsibilities of teenage pregnancy by providing long-term assistance to adolescent parents via programs focusing on self-esteem development, parenting skills and self-sufficiency. Sites are located in Carol Stream, Naperville, Clarendon Hills, Addison, Villa Park and West Chicago.
Created in 1948, the Glen Ellyn Junior Woman’s Club is an organization where members are dedicated in improving their community. The club lends support other community groups such as the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry and the Wheaton-based organizations DuPage PADS and The People’s Resource Center.
La Sridhar, a club member and a board member of Teen Parent Connection, said members step up to the plate every time. The club has been doing this particular project since 2003.
“We usually have about 30 people coming so you have about 30 to 35 boxes of diapers, which is huge for Teen Parent Connection,” Sridhar said.
She said she is also impressed when speakers, who benefitted from the help of Teen Parent Connection, share their experiences with club members.
“They’re all young ladies who are 15, 16 and 17 years old,” she said. “To see them come up there and talk with us, I’m thinking to myself ‘What was I doing at their age?’ It’s just amazing to see their strength.”
The club will also raise proceeds for community organizations at its annual spring flower sale. Items available will include geraniums, begonias, impatiens, petunias and potted herbs. Sridhar said that Teen Parent Connection will be the primary beneficiary of the sale which runs until Friday, April 15.
“The club has been involved with many charities in the local area, and Teen Parent was one of them,” Sridhar said. “Since it is a women’s organization with a lot of energy for supporting and empowering our teens and helping them build a sustaining life, that resonated with all our members.”
Teen Parent Connection was created by a maternal child health nurse from Hinsdale Hospital, according to Becky Beilfuss, the organization’s executive director. The organization expanded to include pregnancy prevention programs for youth and teenagers, group services and home visitation. There is also a program where clients receive help from doulas—specially trained women who are not clinicians, but provide information, education and support concerning pregnancy and planning for labor and delivery.
Besides dispensing parenting information, Beilfuss added that the organization also encourages young parents to become self-sufficient by completing high school and attending college or trade school.
“We have a very high rate of success with getting parents back into school to complete their high school education, as well as delaying subsequent pregnancies,” she said. “We have very high immunization rates among our babies. More importantly, we have less than two percent of our babies become victims of child abuse or neglect. That’s huge for us. Last year, we served 495 young parents and their children and served over 13,000 students with our prevention program.”
Beilfuss is grateful for the club’s help.
“We started working with the Juniors a long time ago as we went to its group meetings to talk more about the organization and our work,” she said. “They have been tremendously supportive.”
Those who want to learn more about the organization can attend “Vine,” its spring wine and food pairing benefit from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28 at Danada House, 3S501 Naperville Road in Wheaton.
For information this event, volunteering and donating, visit its website at www.teenparentconnection.org or call 630-790-8433, ext. 282. For information about the club, send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or call La Sridhar at 630-290-9363.