Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Meet Barbara Brown - Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

Barbara Brown considers herself a retired high school teacher.

But in truth, she’s never really left the classroom. Now, she mentors youth at risk of becoming pregnant through programs run by ONEgeneration in Van Nuys, California.

As a mentor in the Teen Parent Support program, Brown combines her experience as both teacher and parent to help young people understand the complexities and challenges of raising children. She gently guides the teens, drawing on her own experiences to spark discussions and assure them they are capable, competent, and caring parents.

According to colleagues, Brown “is very attentive to the needs of each teen in the program…”

The teens, in turn, become engaged in the program because they see that Brown really cares for them and that they can trust her.

Brown also serves as a model for the young people she mentors.

A mother herself, she went back to school to get her teaching degree while raising six children. And now in retirement, along with the volunteering, she takes classes in Spanish, art, and writing at the local Senior Enrichment Center.

Young people aren’t the only beneficiaries of Brown’s dedication.

She writes columns in a community newsletter where she discusses the pregnant and parenting teen program along with her enthusiasm for volunteering. Through her writing, Brown has helped persuade other older adults to become mentors – enriching their lives along the way.

She doesn’t stop with recruitment. Once the volunteers are on board, Brown makes herself available to them as their “go-to” person, offering advice and guidance.

Anh Tran, ONEgeneration's community relations manager, nominated Brown for the Older Adult Volunteer Award.

“Barbara continues to volunteer her time, wisdom, and warm smile week after week, semester after semester, season after season," Tran noted. "I thank my lucky stars that she is a part of all of our programs.”

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