It was a beautiful Spring morning on Wednesday, May 23rd when Soroptimist International of Puente Hills hosted their 8th annual T.E.A. for You (Teens parents Excelling through Adversity) at the Industry Expo Center in the City of Industry. T.E.A. for You was founded by AIA Agent, Gloria Mitchell, of Gloria Mitchell Bail Bonds, when she witnessed the challenges that her daughter, Candice faced as a pregnant teen and teen Mom nearly 10 years ago. Gloria realized that there are many girls struggling with the same difficulties that her daughter was, but many of them had to face it alone, without financial or often emotional support from family or friends. Each year, the group hosts a tea and luncheon for several schools with pregnant and teen mom programs to further educate, encourage and inspire them to succeed by inviting various speakers to come and share their experiences and knowledge with the young parents and parents-to-be.
Speakers this year included Erica Ambriz, a former teen Mom who excelled beyond her circumstance and family’s humble beginnings to not only graduate high school, but become the first college grad in her family and is now the Senior Field Representative for the City of Pomona. Also speaking was Lelaine Palos, another success story of a teen Mom who made her way through college to receive her Master’s Degree with her 16 year old son by her side when she graduated. She is now a High School Outreach Specialist for Mt. San Antonio College.
Richard Barela spoke as the first representative of teen fathers at a T.E.A. for You function. Richard talked about the vast challenges he and his child’s mother faced as teens, yet attended and completed a high school diploma program and is now a successful painter. Dee Hale, AIA’s Director of Corporate Communications, spoke from the perspective of being the daughter of teen parents and the positive impact that her parents’ relationship, even after they divorced, had on her.
At the close of the event, scholarships are awarded to teens selected by the organization and participating sponsors. AIA and ExpertBail were honored to award a $1,000.00 scholarship to a young man named Martell Cooper, who wrote in his essay that he knows being a young parent will have its hardships, but he refused to be a :”dead beat father like some of [his] friends,” and that becoming a father has actually made him think about life differently and become very mature very fast and think about grown up things like registering for college and career paths.
As funding to schools and programs committed to helping young parents are affected by State budget cuts, it becomes harder and harder for “T.E.A for You” to expand and assist the number of those truly in need. If you would like to make a donation to Soroptimist International of Puente Hills, T.E.A. for You, or sponsor a teen parent in need, please contact, Gloria Mitchell at (909) 622-2626.