Pregnant at 15 years old with your whole life ahead of you is probably one of the scariest things a young girl can face. Being a child yourself you have no idea how to be a proper mother, not to mention many girls have little to no support. COPE changed that. Knowing that I could still accomplish my goals in school and raise my child took a great weight off my shoulders. I loved being surrounded by fellow peers who had the same struggles as me, we could all work together, hold each others hands when times got rough and encourage one another to just keep on ‘truckin’. I couldn’t imagine where I would now without COPE. Ms. Debbie taught me the basics or parent- hood, she showed me things I still use today, like how to make delicious Alfredo sauce! And I cannot emphasis enough, how important the sex education and the free clinic were. Access to the clinic and proper sex education is likely the reason that I’ve been smart about decisions when it comes to sex.
I am now 24 years old with a beautiful 8 year old daughter. I graduated on time with my class, and moved on to college right away. I work now and attend school at UCF, and I truly owe it all to COPE. The close support group, the clinic, the teachers who just wanted us to succeed. It breaks my heart to hear the girls are not getting the same treatment I did as a girl. I can’t imagine how many days I probably would have dreaded going to school because I had to be around people who didn’t understand what it’s like to be a mother. I can’t imagine how scary giving birth would be not knowing what to expect because nobody showed me or told me. COPE really changed so much for me, not just by helping me graduate, but by helping me be a better a person, who would be useful in society and not just another “statistic”.
>> Angeline Bennett