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Neighbors of DuPage

Dupage Foundation awards grant to Teen Parent Connection

Sep 10, 2015 02:19PM ● By Neighbors Magazines

The DuPage Foundation awarded a $20,000 grant to Teen Parent Connection last year as part of its 2014 Community Needs Grant cycle. The agency, which is celebrating 30 years of helping DuPage teens this year, utilized the grant dollars for its Adolescent Family Strengthening programs—which work closely together to provide a continuum of care for young families—with a special emphasis on programs for young fathers.

“I hated high school until I couldn’t go any more,” recalled Becky Beilfuss, once a teen mom and now executive director of Teen Parent Connection in Glen Ellyn. “That is, until I realized that with support, I could be a mom, a teenager, and a high school student at the same time. At that time, I could have really benefitted from an organization like Teen Parent Connection.”

The funded programs include doula services, childbirth education classes, healthy families programs, young parent groups, counseling services and a parents’ pantry. A few years ago, agency staff noticed that an increasing number of dads were showing up for parenting groups and staying for home visits, with their own unique requests for support. The dads’ program attempts to engage fathers at several points along the parenting journey—starting before their baby is born, and providing ongoing support as they adjust to their new role as parents, providers and nurturers. Counseling on the relationship between the mom and dad was a primary focus and it proved to be extremely effective.