Sasha and Gerald refuse to be just another statistic.
It’s challenging to maintain a romantic relationship at any age, but teenagers especially tussle with the turbulent tides of their own self-discovery while trying not to drown in the drama that most young relationships are made of. Add a baby to the mix, and there’s a good chance that relation-ship will very well sink.
In the U.S, eight out of ten teenage fathers do not marry their first child’s mother according to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Sasha Pearsall and Gerald Joe refuse to be just another statistic. It’s a teenage love story that could have easily been taken from any family channel sitcom, and even more sobering, any of our own adolescence.
The two dated briefly, and at just sixteen years-old Sasha became pregnant. Although Sasha recalls that physically the pregnancy was easy with no complications, revealing the pregnancy to her mom was stressful, “She wasn’t happy at all.” Also at just 16 years-old like many young men facing an unplanned pregnancy, Gerald was scared to tell his mom. He now cites her as his biggest source of support which probably is one of the reasons he was able to graduate high school while still being a very involved father. He adds, “Thanks to my support system, being a father isn’t as hard as I thought I would be.”
It’s hard to miss the pride in both parents when talking about all of the little ways they are witnessing daughter Nylah grow. Sasha and Gerald were both active participants in ECP’S Power to Parent program in both their junior and senior years. Sasha remarks she most enjoyed the lessons on discipline and communication skills and she puts what she’s learned into practice with Nylah. “She likes when I sing ABC’s and she’s talking so much now using words like ‘Mom’ ‘Dad’, ‘Hi’ ‘Bye’, ‘Thank You’, ‘Move’ and her favorite, ‘Stop it!’”
For now, both Sasha and Gerald have decided to enroll in community college. Their future will have its definite share of challenges, but the best part is that with a strong support system and most importantly each other, they won’t have to face them alone.
When I walk into the parenting class they call me Ms. Leah.“
As a student attending Educating Communities for Parenting Power to Parent classes, Leah White won the ECP 2009 Imagine Awards Essay Contest. With this award came the opportunity of earning a paid summer internship at ECP and a chance to help other teen parents.
“ECP has taught me about the value of establishing positive relationships. I’ve learned that relationships are about giving and receiving. With the support and direction of my family and the committed staff at ECP, I learned to handle the multiple responsibilities of being a parent, a daughter, student, and a full-time Americorps member for ECP.”
Leah has grown into a remarkable young woman. She is admired and respected
by everyone she meets.
She has earned the right to be called Ms. Leah.
ECP’s mission is to create more opportunities for youth and families. Just like Leah we value relationships. With your support, we will continue to break cycles and build better futures.
Educating Communities for Parenting is a nonprofit organization that provides parenting education and youth development programs throughout the Philadelphia area.
Based on the principle that the parent-child relationship is the foundation upon which all human relationships are built, the mission of ECP is to teach youth, teen parents, children, and communities about the nature of and practices within healthy relationships.
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ECP… Breaking Cycles – Building Futures