She’s anything, but typical
At first glance Monique Bowman looks like your typical trendy teen, but the truth is that Monique is anything but typical. A senior in high school, Monique is balancing it all: a 3.5 GPA, a part-time job after school and spending her days being a mother to two year- old son, Raheem. “Balancing school, finding a babysitter, and having money to support your child” are a few of the challenges that Bowman expresses she faces along with thousands of teens across the United States.
At 15 years- old, Monique found herself in a situation that unfortunately is now a common dilemma for most teenage girls. At the time she was in a long-term relationship with the father of her child but naively believed that teen pregnancy wouldn’t happen to her. Wanting to make the best of her situation, Monique was informed about Educating Communities for Parenting’s Power to Parent program and soon became a regular participant. “ECP teaches you different ways to raise your child and how to build better relationships,” she remarks about her experience with the classes, and in the fall of 2011 Monique started her second year as a regular attendee. She particularly enjoys the lessons on healthy discipline, which she says are a big help with an active and curious toddler, Reheem, who would prefer to rip off parts of the wall over playing with trucks. It seems Monique might have a potential contractor on her hands.
Although her after-school responsibilities keep her schedule booked, Monique also stands as a role-model for her classmates during the school hours as well. Last year, during the school’s class government elections, Monique decided she wanted to run for a position and was elected to class secretary. Her responsibilities include taking notes at student government meetings as well as creating and planning fundraising events including bake sales and candy grams. She’s quick to remark that her busy schedule would be nearly impossible if it wasn’t for the help of a strong support system; Raheem’s father spends time with his son on the weekends, and a close-knit family including her mom, dad, older sister and young nephew all contribute actively to helping Monique and caring for Raheem, but more importantly also making sure to include quality time to have fun together. “We make sure to eat together, and we play games too,” she remarks.
In the fall of 2012, Monique expects to be a freshman at Temple or Drexel University majoring in criminal justice with hopes of becoming a lawyer or judge. When asked what she thinks makes her different from other teens that may be slower to mature or take responsibility for their lives when facing an unintended pregnancy she replies with a matter-of-fact, quiet confidence, “My mind is set on what I want to be in life. Raheem came and now I know I have to do what I have to do. There’s always a way you can make it even with a child.” Monique is a great example that a focused mind-set and strong support system can truly help teens in difficult, challenging situations make positive choices.