BRIGHTON — Enrollment in the Teen Mom Program at Hope Online Learning Academy’s Brighton campus has doubled in size since opening over a year ago. The program has enabled 12 teen moms to continue their high school education during the 2012-13 school year and allowed six teen moms graduate.
Graduates Monica Delgado, 18, of Hudson, and Veronica Camacho, 18, of Brighton, said they would not have been able to graduate without the help of the program.
Delgado is a single mom and said she is raising her son, Julio, by herself.
“I work and I came to this school because I knew I could bring my son with me... I didn’t want to fall behind so when I heard about them, that’s when I came to enroll over here,” she said.
Camacho said her grandma usually babysits her son but that it was hard on her so she decided it was better to bring him to school with her.
“It did make things a lot easier and I got to work and be with him,” she said.
The Teen Mom Program is a tuition-free program that allows teen moms the flexibility of being able to care for their child while attending school.
Program Coordinator Kim Vega said the program was formed out of necessity because there isn’t a program for teen moms anywhere in the area.
“I see a lot of girls that are teen moms and they’re not able to finish high school,” she said. “They don’t have babysitters or they don’t have the resources available to help with their children…and to get their diplomas.”
The program is also designed for teens that are pregnant and offers them a three week maternity leave as part of the program. Once their child is born, they are able to bring their newborn to class with them when they return.
Brianna Jones, 17, of Lochbuie, was pregnant when she enrolled in the program. Jones said she chose the program so she could graduate on time while not having to worry about paying for childcare. She plans to continue her online education in the fall and graduate next year.
Vega said there are currently four students enrolled in the program for fall and that they are currently accepting teen moms or expecting teen moms who are interested in the program.
Hope Online Learning Academy is a tuition-free online school with about 40 learning centers across the Front Range, according to Hope Online Spokeswoman Kristina Saccone. She said the program provides a blended online learning atmosphere where the bulk of the curriculum is online but teachers and mentors are available to help them in the classroom.
For more information on the program or to enroll contact Kim Vega at 303-835-2631 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.