AP NEWS

Teen Parents Get Advice, Confidence At Second Annual Scranton Workshop

April 6, 2019

SCRANTON — Reymy Novas was in eighth grade when he learned he soon would become a father to twin girls.

Now 21, the Scranton High School graduate studies criminal justice at Keystone College. He works as a correctional officer at the Wyoming County Correctional Facility and aspires to become a U.S. marshal. As friends turned to lives on the street, Novas had a purpose. His twin girls, Reyniah and Reynalee, are now 5.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” he told two dozen young parents on Friday.

During the second annual teen parent conference, social service agencies came together in the Scranton center of the Luzerne County Community College to provide support and advice to young moms and dads. During workshops, parents learned about topics including healthy relationships, pediatric health, budgeting and job skills.

Teenage parents need to feel empowered to make positive decisions in their own lives and the lives of their children, said Brenda Holzman, who works with pregnant students in the Scranton School District.

In a panel discussion, people who became parents as teens or young adults offered perspective on overcoming struggles, finding strength and planning for the future.

Mary-Pat Ward just turned 21 when she became a mom to Isabella, now 15. The mother and daughter ended up homeless and found shelter and a new start in the Catherine McAuley Center in South Scranton.

Ward, now 37, is the executive director of Scranton’s Office of Economic and Community Development. She encouraged the teens to ask for help when they need it — whether it is from friends, family or social service agencies.

Morgan and Brad Brink learned shortly before graduating from Lackawanna Trail in 2014, that they would become parents.

“There were a lot of hard days and hard nights,” the 23-year-old father said. “You’ve got to push forward and keep moving on. Things do get better.”

The young parents left with diapers, door prizes and more confidence.

“It makes me feel like I’m not alone,” said Cynthia Centeno, 20, who had her son at 17.

Contact the writer:

shofius@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9133; @hofiushallTT