When Chinara discovered she was pregnant, she turned to Healthy Babies Project’s Teen Parent Empowerment Program (TPEP). Together, she and her family support worker created a personalized plan to manage the significant risks associated with her medical condition, sickle cell anemia.
Pregnancy was difficult, but during that time Chinara became active in TPEP classes and a leader in SiHLE (Sisters Informing Helping Leading Empowering), HBP’s evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program for urban girls.
That one-on-one relationships with her family support worker and her mentor made a difference for Chinara. After delivery, Chinara and her baby were in and out of the hospital for months. Chinara was tempted to give up trying and give up hope, but she persisted. “The HBP staff supported me, advocated for me, and reminded me about the importance of my education and of continuing to take care of myself,” says Chinara.
Support Gave Her Courage to Lead, Give Back
Her mentor saw Chinara’s potential and encouraged her to apply for the AmeriCorps Vista Program. As an AmeriCorps leader Chinara works with HBP to implement workshop programs for youth in the D.C. area, teaching them about leadership, community services, and educational advancement. She was selected to be an AmeriCorps VISTA Recruitment Manager and has led her team in coordinating 3 community services programs and 2 cohorts.
That in turn led Chinara to apply for and be selected to work as an intern with the District’s Department of Employment Services.
In the meantime, Chinara recognizes the power of others investing in her and is determined to give back. She has worked tirelessly to recruit other young ladies in the community to be a part of SiHLE, helping more teens make smart health decisions and build healthy lives, and now speaks out about her own accomplishments to HBP community partners and organizations.
She recently played a key role as HBP’s voice, working to procure a significant gift to HBP. In a visit with Fair Chance D.C. Advisory Board member Carrie Marriott, Chinara shared the struggles that teen moms face with transportation — leading Ms. Marriott’s gift of a 14- seat van to HBP.
“When these young mothers see that they can do great things, they blossom in maturity and confidence,” says HBP Executive Director Regine Elie.
Chinara plans to pursue a degree in pyschology and a career in social work. She and her 1-year-old daughter are healthy and thriving. If you or a teen you know is pregnant and needs support, contact HBP at 202.396.2809 to learn about our Teen Parent Empowerment Program.