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Eight teenage mothers recently graduated from the Teen Mom/Mentor Program
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Eight girls graduated May 17 from the Teen Mom/Mentor Program hosted by the Statesboro Exchange Club Family Skills Center, said Nina S. Vandergriff, intern with the center.
    The United Way agency, with help from local high school nurses, identified nine teens who were either pregnant or new mothers, and enrolled them in the program, she said.
    "Although one girl chose to drop out ... it was still a major success," Vandergriff said.
    The teens were paired with qualified mentors who visited on a regular basis. The teens and mentors all met once a month, gathering for sharing, learning and support. "During these support meetings, certain educational topics were covered ... including "Ages and Stages," "Mother's Diet and Habits," and "STD's and AIDS," she said.
    "The program has proven to be a successful endeavor for the Family Skills Center and plans for next year's Teen Mom/Mentor program are currently under way," she said.
    Center Director Myrtis Akins recently learned of the growing number of pregnant teens at Statesboro High School and predicts the Teen Mom/Mentor program will grow at a rapid pace, Vandergriff said. "The program is very beneficial to the  teen mothers and also proven to be very beneficial to this community."
    The goal of the program is to reduce infant mortality, the incidence of unhealthy infants, to reduce birth defects and eliminate neglect and abuse. It also encourages teens to complete their education, she said.
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