I hope this year has been prosperous for you. I also hope that you are staying safe and warm in this "winter wonderland" if you're in the Midwest.
In 2011, Advocates for Adolescent Mothers delivered our first Back to School Celebration. Preparation required many long hours and lots of hard work. As I headed to bed the morning of the event with few hours to sleep, I thought, "This is love". It was the first moment that I realized that my advocacy on behalf of young parents and their children is a manifestation of love.
Love is one of the most misunderstood universal concepts. Furthermore, many people rarely recognize the power of genuine love. Genuine love is the most powerful form of prevention. A child who experiences genuine love in a way that it is meaningful to him or her is less likely to make detrimental choices that negatively change their life trajectory. A girl who experiences genuine love in a way that is meaningful to her is less likely to conceive a child at an early age.
Many youth are not experiencing love in a way that is meaningful to them. Advocates for Adolescent Mothers shows love to the love-deprived girl who became a teen mother. It is not easy for many young mothers to accept the love that AFAM offers them, because they have created so many barriers in an effort to protect themselves from experiencing the pain of being hurt again. Breaking down these barriers in our work with young mothers is very challenging. Once we're able to break through these young moms' barriers, we can show them love and they learn to accept it. By impressing upon them the power of love, and teaching them to love their children in a meaningful way, their children are less likely to become caught up in a pattern of negative outcomes, which have their origins in lovelessness. Once young moms can accept our show of love, and they learn to love and appreciate themselves, they are more likely to value their future goals and delay subsequent pregnancies.
I know it sounds utopic, but love is the solution to many of society's current ills. Love is an amazing thing. I welcome your responses to my thoughts on love and its impact on youth if you feel inclined to reply to this email. Please continue to read on about some of our recent efforts to deliver love to families headed by young parents, and allow me to be the first to wish you a happy Valentine's Day.