Teen pregnancy still has a stigma in our society. No matter what we know about teenagers lack of maturity, raging hormones and perhaps even lack of sex education, we are quick to label a pregnant teen girl. She must be fast. She’s way too young to have a baby. *eye roll*. But the truth of the matter is we don’t know her story. We don’t know the circumstances of her pregnancy. All we know is she’s about to have a child when she is a child herself and she needs guidance and help. This is why non-profits like D.R.E.A.M. Life Org are important. Started by a young mother herself, Cristina Sturdivant uses her life experience to inspire, uplift and assist young mothers living in high at-risk communities. On this First Philanthropy Friday, we are proud to celebrate D.R.E.A.M. Life Org and the work they do to help young mothers.
Location: Washington, DC
Years in Operation: 3 years
Mission of the Organization: D.R.E.AM. stands for: Delivering Resources to Empower A Mother’s Life. Our mission is to cultivate a society of young mothers destined for success by utilizing the principles of aspiration, dedication, responsibility, independence and reciprocation.
We believe that, in reality, a young mother who is well educated, work oriented, and emotionally stable will be a much better parent to her children. Although there are setbacks in life, one does not have to sacrifice her dreams on account of these obstacles. We are here to ensure that dreams are not deferred.
Name one programmatic highlight within the last year: D.R.E.A.M. Life served 18 young mothers and at-risk teen girls during our first six-week summer course. Guest speakers volunteered their time to teach our girls about topics that covered, parental, personal, professional and academic development. Each week we had workshops facilitated by our guests that coached our girls on topics that complemented our weekly themes: Aspiration Week, Dedication Week, Responsibility Week, Independence Week. The summer course truly helped to give our girls perspective on life skills and responsibility. We look forward to having the summer course again next year.
Why was this organization started? At the age of 22-years-old, Christina Sturdivant entered her senior year at Hampton University with the knowledge that she would be a mother in nine months time. After completing her fall semester, Christina relocated her life back to her hometown, Washington, DC, to prepare for the changes life had in store.
After giving birth to her son, Montgomery, while working as a volunteer for a local non-profit, Christina decided to make a personal impact on the community where she was raised; and after much prayer and preparation, she sought to help her community in an area she could relate to most- being a young mother.
D.R.E.A.M. Life was started in July 2009 to assist young, single mothers in gaining independence and stability by providing them with resources, guidance and life skills training. Now a 501(c)(3), D.R.E.A.M. Life continues to fulfill the dream our founder had to help the lives of other young women.
A testimony from a teen mom in the program:
I got involved with D.R.E.A.M. Life in the spring of 2010. I was pregnant with my 3rd child, living with my parents and going through a break-up with my children’s father. My job was rocky and my parents wanted me to move out. I was talking to a friend of mine about my situation and he introduced me to Christina.
From our first conversation, I could tell she was sincere about helping me into a better situation. She helped me in so many ways. I was immediately given housing information and ideas on where to apply for jobs. She even came to my house with groceries and clothes for my son, which I couldn’t have been more grateful for and can never express my appreciation enough.
At times when I felt like things would never get better, Christina kept giving me the motivation I needed to keep trying for my kids. I am now working two jobs, one of which Christina helped me get and I am scheduled to start school to get my Bachelor’s degree at the end of May. — Shanelle, R.