BENEFITING: TOMAROS CHANGE
Are you concerned about today's youth? When you read the headlines showing the number of children being abused/neglected, living in poverty and lacking educational equality do you wonder if there is anything you can do to help improve those stats? Well, I was a 'wonderer'! I finally decided to stop talking about the need for change and now I am part of change!
My name is Tomaro and I am the founder of Tomaro's C.H.A.N.G.E. (Creating Healing, Answers & Necessary Guidance for Excellence). Team C.H.A.N.G.E. works very hard in assisting at risk youth and teen parents, either having a child or who is going to have a child. We focus on building and strengthening young people’s social, emotional, psychological and spiritual being with hopes of providing them with the tools they need to be happy and successful members of society.
After over four years of working with young people, Tomaro’s C.H.A.N.G.E. has narrowed down our services to address the issues that surround at risk young people and teen parents, particularly those residing in out of home care, who are homeless and who reside in low income/disenfranchised communities.
A few of the issues that we are focused on improving include poverty, child maltreatment, lack of resources (i.e. employment, education, parenting and life skills, etc.), and teens having multiple children before the age of 21.
Statistics currently show that there is a decline in teen pregnancy nationally; however, there is still much work to do. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that teen birth rates (live births per 1,000 15–19-year-old U.S. females) decreased 6% overall from 2011 (31.3) to 2012 (29.4). They further explain that although this is the case geographic, socioeconomic, and racial and ethnic disparities still persists making teen pregnancy a continued problem.
Tomaro's C.H.A.N.G.E. has taken on the responsibility of addressing the socioeconomic conditions that surroung at risk youth as well as teen parents. One of the most common factors in families who live in poverty, who are referred to child and familiy services and who suffer from illiteracy is teen pregnancy.
Some of the following disparities contribute to high teen birth rates:
Low education and low income levels of a teen's family
Few opportunities in a teen's community for positive youth involvement
Neighborhood physical disorder (graffiti, abandoned vehicles, litter, alcohol containers, etc.)
Neighborhood-level income inequality
Teens in the child welfare system are at an even higher risk teen pregnancy and birth than other groups. By the age of 19, one half of the teens in foster care become pregnant. Children born to teen mothers are more likely to be placed in foster care. Data shows that during the first five years of their lives the risk is 2.2 times higher compared to children born to mothers 20-21 years of age.
Subsequent Pregnancies and Births among Teen Mothers
Data shows that 24% of teen mothers have a second child within two years of having their first child; of those, 31% of them aged 16 or younger had a second child closely spaced to the first.
Data further shows that teens that quit school after giving birth are more likely to have a second child sooner than those that return to school after delivery of their first child. Some risk factors outside of dropping out of school include socioeconomic status, teens coming from poor families; and poor family structure.
Doors to C.H.A.N.G.E.
Doors to C.H.A.N.G.E. is a program that assists teen parents in not simply ‘changing’ but in transforming their lives. We provide a community-based, family-centered, neighborhood friendly place where at risk young people can receive 'family' support, information and services that will strengthen, encourage and guide them to lead happier, healthier lives. The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of children repeating the cycle of poverty, child maltreatment and illiteracy; and to ensure that teen parents become self-reliant thus eliminating the need for government assistance.
Our objectives includes, a) provide access to needed resources that will assist families in appropriate health services; b) develop a success plan which addresses strengths, challenges and goals while addressing the family’s challenges; c) provide resources that will aid families in becoming economically self-resilient; d) provide life skills training which will enhance the family’s ability to function at its best; e) provide resources to housing related services; f) provide parent education which will improve the safety and well-being of children; g) provide and encourage parent-child activities; h) advocate for family, individual and community; i) provide home visits based on individual family needs which will improve the safety and well-being of children; and j) collaborate with other organizations/services which will help provide information and referral services that will help to ensure families are receiving any needed services that may not be offered by Tomaro’s C.H.A.N.G.E.
With our charity services, and children and family programs we are confident that our organization will continue to make an enormous impact on the lives of young people.
Some of the accomplishments for 2013-14 include:
- TC had a number of fundraisers which gave families of youth an opportunity to purchase food, clothing
- TC helped raise funds which assisted a young family with the purchase of a vehicle to transport a child with cancer to and from chemo and physical therapy
- TC provided moms with baby formula/food, diapers, and clothing for their infants
- TC assisted single parents by providing them with clothing for their children, furniture, holiday packages, and much needed references to help link them to employment opportunities
- TC donated items to other nonprofit organizations during the holiday seasons to help ensure the happiness of well-deserved youth
- TC donated books to children hospitals
- And more....
In order to continue growing and making a difference in the lives of at risk families we need your help! Please visit our website http://www.tomaros-change.org/ to learn more about us and what we do; you can also visit us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Tomaros.Change and on Twitter https://twitter.com/tomaros_change.
We welcome any questions and will provide 501c3 documentation upon request.
Remember, it takes a village!
Don’t forget…all donations are tax deductible!