Friday, December 19, 2014

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NYer Of The Week: Nadia Owens Shares Her Experience With Teen Moms

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Becoming a parent at a young age can be a huge challenge, but this week's New Yorker is using her own experience as a teen mom to help other young women become successful mothers. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following report.

For Nadia Owens, the words of others were just the start, the challenge that pushed her to prove people wrong.

"I was told, 'Oh, you’re not going to amount to anything. You’re pregnant at 15. You’re not going to do anything with your life," she says.

"I was scared, because I knew how strict my family was, and I knew I was in trouble," she says. "But I wanted to be a role model for them, and that's what it was all about."

Today, Nadia’s life is far from what was predicted. The vice president of a global medical device company with a master's degree, she also finds time to volunteer at the place that helped her through her pregnancy, the New York Foundling.

"They were not judgmental," she says. "When I came in, they said, 'You know what? You are pregnant now. You have another responsibility that you have to take care of. We are going to help you.'"

The Mother/Child Program gave Nadia a place to stay and taught her how to look after herself and her child. It was an invaluable service then and now.

"Where would I be? I would be in the gutter. Let's put it like that. Yeah, I would be in a pretty bad situation," says Brittany Mclean, a young mother. "I wasn't taking advantage of my education, and now I am. I'm doing everything I have to so that my son can have a wonderful life."

"Hope, inspiration, everything. It gives me everything. I'm just so excited to have her," says Kristine Mcmillan, a young mother. "Her story kind of was like, 'Oh, so you can.' She was very, very young, and she did what she had to do."

Recognizing herself in the young women today gives Nadia hope that her story can help.

"I didn't realise the impact that the Foundling was going to have on my life. The mother/child program really enables these girls to really progress in life and help them to become independent so they can contribute in society," Young says. "If I can make a difference in even one person's life, that will make me happy."

So, for helping pregnant teens aim high for their children and for themselves, Nadia Owens is our New Yorker of the Week.

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