“When a girl becomes pregnant, people often tell her to quit school and go to work. Families already struggling to provide for themselves see a new baby as another mouth to feed.” C.C. Frick sees this scenario time and again through the teen mothers she helps at Florence Crittenton Services, a nonprofit organization that encompasses Florence Crittenton High School (a partnership with Denver Public Schools), the Early Childhood Education Center (a child education and care center for children—ages six weeks to Pre-K—of the teen moms), and a student and family support program. Now, the organization is expanding its services with the Baby Bucks Store, an effort to help young mothers stay in school.
What started in a janitor’s closet in 2001 has evolved into a new 1,500-square-foot shop open twice a month to the teen mothers on the Florence Crittenton campus in southwest Denver. The program incentivizes its 120 young mothers, ranging from 14 to 21 years old, to attend school on a regular basis and excel in their coursework by allowing them to earn “Baby Bucks” that can be spent on diapers, wipes, baby clothes, toys, and bottles, among other necessities. “Being able to offer these resources to the girls is the difference between dropping out and continuing the cycle of poverty or succeeding,” says Frick, who acts as the special events and volunteer coordinator. “It’s really a two-generation approach by helping mothers and the babies get off to a good start. By earning Baby Bucks, it makes showing up to school like going to a job.”
Here’s how you can help: The Baby Bucks Store goes through about $1,000 in diapers each month, along with other baby supplies. But a lot of the children helped through the program are toddlers and young kids. Frick asks people to “think bigger” when considering a donation. For example, the Baby Bucks store needs diapers in sizes three through six and Pull-Ups from 2T to 5T. Other needs include child hygiene products, pacifiers, and gently used cribs, strollers, and high chairs. “The need is always there for diapers,” Frick says. “But, we also have moms that need boots, coats, gloves, and hats for their kids. We never say no to a donation.”
For more information on donating to the Baby Bucks Store at Florence Crittenton Services contact C.C. Frick at [email protected] or 720-423-8910.
Follow assistant editor Lindsey R. McKissick on Twitter @LindseyRMcK.