Toledo school for teen moms is changing lives - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Toledo school for teen moms is changing lives

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Polly Fox Academy is the only school in the area for pregnant and parenting teenage girls in grades 7-12. Not only do school leaders focus on education but they also help the teens with things like child care. According to Polly Fox administrators there are about 700 babies born to teen mothers in Lucas County in any give year. Of course some of those young women drop out of school to raise their children but Polly Fox works to make sure the teen moms get a diploma.

Angelica Clark is a 17 year old girl with a three year old son, "I was 14 when I got pregnant and I had him when I was 15."Angelica says traditional high school didn't work for her but she found her place and her inspiration at Polly Fox, "It's the best school for teen moms. Everyone fits in. We all understand one another and the difficulties we face. The teachers are great, they work with you. I love this school."

Janay Brown was pregnant at 16. Her son King turns a year old today, "When I was in regular school I was off track. When I came here the teachers got me back on track and its easier here because I have more help and more support and no one judges me."

Kesia Gonzalez dropped out of high school and then got pregnant at the age of 15. She's now been at Polly Fox for three years. She's planning to study criminal justice at Owens Community College next year, "You're going to graduate and go on to college? Yes this year and I never thought I'd say that."

Program Development Director Joan Durgin says the often difficult journey each one of these girls has faced is what binds them together, "I think they understand each other and the roads they are walking. They can be empathetic and supportive of each other. It's what these girls need, they need not to feel isolated but nurtured and that's what we do here." It's quickly clear it's not just the students whose lives are changed by Polly Fox, "Every day when I walk into school I know why I am here. I see girls who have been here for 6 years and the light bulb finally turns on. They graduate and go on to college. They find a way to not only take care of themselves, but a way to take care of their children too."

The help they give the students at Polly Fox goes well beyond the classroom. They also provide health care and social service support as well as subsidized child care.

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