Date: January 30th, 2014
This short excerpt from a nomination letter for Lisa Carter, the 2013 Outstanding Teen Parent Awardee, paints just one small part of the picture, but tells so much. When she was nominated for the award that she ultimately ended up winning at last year’s Healthy Teen Network Conference, other words and themes that consistently emerged in her nominating materials were terms like “dedicated,” “inspiring,” and “hard-working.”
Shortly after being placed into foster care at the age of 12, Lisa became pregnant with her first child. At 19, she had a second child. Early on, it was clear that Lisa had a passion–not to mention a very special gift–to support and encourage young people to reach their goals. Her role as a Teen Advisor at the Adolescent Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative in Boston, in which she coordinated events to promote teen pregnancy prevention and educated teens about making healthy decisions and the importance of goal setting, was just the first of many invaluable ways she has worked to support healthy youth.
Currently, Lisa, who earned her Bachelors degree from the University of Massachusetts, works for Communities In Schools, a drop-out prevention organization, located in Charlotte, NC. “I help guide, and not be judgmental,” she explains of her work, stressing that teens need goals, positive feedback, and most of all education.
When learning that she had been chosen to receive the award, Lisa thought, “Wow–24 years later [after the birth of my son], and there’s an organization that wants to honor me for the work I’ve done. I didn’t even know there was such an award,” she says. “There are programs for [pregnant teens and young parents], and things of that nature, but once you phase out of those programs, you’re sort of off living life and you don’t hear much about how [people in the programs] are doing later on in life, so it’s amazing that [Healthy Teen Network] honors moms and dads. I really, really appreciated that.”
How important do you think it is to help teens you work with set goals? What strategies have you found successful in helping them set goals and achieve them?
About the Author
Healthy Teen Network envisions a world where all adolescents and young adults lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Founded in 1979, we promote better outcomes for adolescents and young adults by advancing social change, cultivating innovation, and strengthening youth-supporting professionals and organizations. We serve as a leading national membership organization (501c3) for adolescent health professionals and organizations, promoting a unique and holistic perspective—we call it Youth 360°—to improve the health and well-being of young people.