Hello, my name is Leslie. I am 16 years and I am a young teen parent; my son is just 3 months old now. This program has helped me take care of him and myself, and is a wonderful program to help out young parents and help young teens prevent pregnancy.

But, before I had my son, I was headed in the wrong direction. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd, which lead me to run away at the age of 12. I was in and out of foster homes, fighting, and smoking marijuana. I thought it was cool since all my friends were doing it.

I kept repeating the same behavior until I found out I was pregnant. When I told my mom I was pregnant she had a hard time accepting it. I was on the run at the time, together with the father of my child, but I had to make the right decision, and I turned myself in.

When I turned myself in, my social worker placed me in a residential program in Merrimack, MA. I was in that program for three weeks. While I was in the program, the father of my child had got caught; he got locked up and did five months; I was so stressed out during those five months! School wasn't working out - my attitude kept getting me kicked out of every school, so I ended up dropping out.

Then, I began working on rebuilding my relationship with my mom, which is doing much better now. Finally my attitude changed; I think that wouldn't have happened if I didn't get pregnant. My worst fear about becoming a parent was how I would support my child. Now that I am a parent, my feelings have grown. I am very happy with my son, he is my pride and joy, and just looking at him makes me happy.

I got involved with TPPSI together with my boyfriend. Without the program, I wouldn't know where I would be today. The experience has been very good - it has helped us with diapers, clothes, bottles and other things my son and I need. My boyfriend, our baby, and I are living with my mother; it's cozy at the moment, but we are working on getting a larger apartment. Though it was hard at first, my mom has been very understanding and supportive. I've started working on my GED. I have dreams for my son; I hope he doesn't head in the wrong direction and does positive things in his life. This program has helped me realize those dreams by raising my son the right way.

This information is provided by the Department of Youth Services.