My focus for the feature article is the educational opportunities and support services available to pregnant teens and young parents in the Geelong region.
Our local area has some ground breaking programs of educational reform, which ensure that beginning a family young does not need to mark the end to formal learning.
For someone under 19 years of age who has the huge responsibility of raising a child, the traditional school system may not feel relevant.
Add sleepless nights, nappy changing, health concerns, the potential of post natal depression, breast feeding challenges, sense of isolation and constantly learning on the job… a teen parent has very little in common with their peers. Disconnections from the authoritative school structure and from their past social network is understandable.
My feature illustrates schooling is more complex with a family, but not impossible. Finishing school can be done with the right support, an open mind, a bit of flexibility and a determined attitude. Most importantly, it requires knowing how to access help.
Education truly is the key to having freedom. It enables the ability to make choices for a more financially secure future, for the student and for their children.
To prepare for the writing of my of feature, I have conducted extensive online research. I continue to examine the local, statewide, Australian and international approaches to education and the ways that teen pregnancy impacts future individual’s expectations. I have looked into a range of statistical data to gain numerical understandings of the effects that teen pregnancy has upon individuals and on society. I observed a range of opinions shown within previously published pieces relating to the subject, in order to gather community view points, observe existing alternative educational structures supporting pregnant teens and methods by which young parents reject societal stereotypes.
I have been investigating how individuals cope with and work beyond prejudice.
After researching the support mechanisms provided by local agencies, I explored how the assistance available to young families is discovered and accepted. I made contact with many of the regional organisations and have conducted a series of face to face interviews. I wanted to hear what stakeholders on the front line experienced and how they felt about the delivery of their programs.
I met with several local representatives involved in providing education, maternal assistance and child health care along with professionals in other support services. I was curious to see what they felt was missing in education provision, who they most needed to reach, what successes they can boast of and what lessons there are for the future.
After my research and interviews, I am fully equipped to write a well informed piece to highlight the challenges, accomplishments, opinions and ambitions surrounding my central themes. I have a wide range of views and attitudes to reflect and report from.
My research techniques, involved primary and secondary sources, taking of photographs, developing the images into a slideshow, investigating the individuals who have great input, setting up interviews, recording audio files of the interviews, learning how and then editing audio files, discovering how to and developing a youtube presence, exploring how blog formats operate and generating this blog, researching with RSS feeds, connecting with online communities, attaching feeds and hyperlinks to the blog, putting part of one of my interviews onto this blog and developing a map of my story.
My aim is a feature article which provides personal profiles, suggestions for way to access pregnancy and educational assistance, challenge existing stereotypes, outlines the benefits of continuing education for young parents and make historical comparisons between experiences today and that of young pregnant women’s past treatment by society.