Lisette joined TMCL in 2016 as a Big Sister and has been a contributing factor within the Organization. Since she has come on-board she has been fervently working on helping to build up other teen moms who are going through similar obstacles she faced as a teen mom. Lisette’s passion like our other Big Sisters derives from her 10-year-old son Aiden which Lisette had at a young tender age. Lisette used her circumstances fuel her success and was able to graduate high school through the COPE program and obtain an Major in Accounting, she also recently just purchased her first house. Lisette has been key factor to the organization by donating her time by opening our Donation Room on Fridays and gives a listening ear and sound advice to the Little Sisters who are going through hard times. We are proud to have Lisette Cuevas as a Big Sister and are proud to announce her as Teen Moms Choose Life Big Sister of the Year!
I chose Maritza to be this months Celebrity Mom because of her positive spirit..not only today but when she was a student at COPE. I will always remember her as an inspiration and positive influence on the other girls. She would be the first one up in the class if someone was breaking down and she would put her arms around them…Those qualities you never forget. She possessed a desire to make something of herself for her son and watching her grow up I see she hasn’t lost that desire. When I post on Facebook that I need something for a new teen mom she is eager to help out. I want to see Maritza succeed in the child-care field because she has all the qualities to be a great teacher!….Congratulations again Maritza!
My name is Maritza I’m 22 years old and I graduated from Cope in 2009. Being a teen mom at 16 with my son Isaiah was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with till this day.
I was living in New Jersey when I found out i was pregnant. In that area they expect females to drop out of school when they are put into that situation. Before becoming pregnant I was all about school and my grades. When I became pregnant the rumors and gossip started to spread around to the point where I had to be home-schooled.Family members in Florida kept convincing me to come back to Florida for a great school that offers help to girls like me. I figured it would be worse because who would want to help a pregnant 16 year old?
When I finally moved back to Florida I decided to attend school at COPE. The decision to attend COPE was easy due to the fact that all the friends I had before leaving to New Jersey were all distant when they found out I was pregnant. They acted as if I had a disease. COPE school was all I had when I felt all alone and COPE allowed me to be the mom I Am today.
We all went through the same struggles from the ‘father to our children problems’ and family problems. I’m so grateful I was able to graduate high school. When I walked with my zoned high school I received looks from peers who were shocked to see me there, which was an amazing feeling!
I have a different mindset than most 22 year-olds which is tough for me at times. I wish I can just spoil myself or just go on vacations but instead I have to make sure I’m working my 40 hours to have a full paycheck to pay my bills and provide for my kids (which I consider a big bill). It used to hurt so bad to be with my son’s father, he was my weakness and not a good influence on me at all. Then I met an amazing man who took in my son Isaiah as his own and we had a daughter together. He’s my rock and has helped me through some really tough times.
Even though my life has come to a complete stop to some people, in my eyes my life has just began and I will keep doing my hardest to make my kids happy. Next month I will have my certification to care for children in day-cares, which is something I’ve always dreamed of doing.
Little by little I will further my education in child care but it’s definitely a goal I will achieve. I want to say I love you Ms. Debbie so much! I think about you everyday, in my eyes you are my angel and without your beautiful words and encouragement I would’ve probably been lost. COPE was a beautiful experience and I wouldn’t change that for anything!
Name: Samantha CintronAge: 25Children: Niayla Sarie Cintron and Mason Elias PeralesGraduated: 2007Here’s my story:
Hi! my name is Samantha I am 25 years old. I became pregnant in 2005 at the age of 17. During my pregnancy I was faced with a lot of issues. My first issue was like any other teenager: how was I going to provide for my child, secondly how was I going to finish school and finally was I making the right choice in having her. At first my relationship at home was a bit rocky due to the fact that I was rebelling against my family. Regardless of my situation at home I still had good grades and stood on top of my work. In 2004, I met my daughters father in high school. At first everything seemed pretty good and the relationship was going strong. In Sept 2005 before I found out I was pregnant I lost my grandfather to colon cancer. That day my mom put me and my brother on the first plane to Puerto Rico for his funeral which caused me to miss a bunch of days of school. This hit close to home because he was the only father figure I had in my life and not having that father figure made me feel even more alone. In October of 2005 I found out I was pregnant I was in shock and my mom was really hurt. When I told my daughters father he was lost for words and his mothers first reaction was that she didn’t want him to have any part of me or his child and for me to abort. The controlling nature of his mother forced us to fight and argue. She got exactly what she wanted and he left me 6 months pregnant. With nothing to offer this child my family stepped in and reassured me that regardless of what her father did or didn’t do they would be by my side and my child will not be left behind. I knew from this day that I had to grow up and stand up for me and my child. I continued to go to high school regardless of what my principle or dean thought of me. They would constantly tell me to go to COPE and get out of their school because they didn’t want this reputation in their school. I finished in Harmony High school on May 25, 2006 and on May 27, 2006 I welcomed my first child Niayla Sarie Cintron into this world. I knew from the moment that I laid eyes on her that this love was like no other and that everything I went through was worth my struggle. After a few months I started in COPE which was really great due to my situation. It was tough waking up everyday with my daughter only a few months old to catch the bus to go to school. I met Debbie Newell at COPE and she was so awesome to me and many other girls like me. I knew I was not alone. My days at COPE were a constant struggle because I didn’t have any support from my daughters father. My daughter had no relationship with her father and we had such an ugly court battle that we could never see eye to eye. Although this was going on, in 2008 I went to school and studied pharmacy where I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and thankfully was hired on my internship at ORMC. Within my first year of employment I passed the pharmacy technician certification board where I became a certified tech and now currently Registered as a Pharmacy Technician with the state of Florida for 4 years now. I felt my life finally started and I finally began to live although I knew I could not change my past but I embraced it because my daughter lacked nothing. I thank God for my family because without their unconditional love and support I probably would not have made it. In 2010, I met a man named Ray who I fell immensely in love with and accepted my daughter. He gave Niayla that father figure she never had. We welcomed our first child together, a healthy baby boy named Mason Elias Perales in 2011. Ray has been my rock and has constantly been by our side through everything. Niayla is now 7 years old she loves to draw, paint and loves school. She is such a bright child, amazing daughter and great sister to her little brother. Today my daughter has no relationship with her real father. I have learned that regardless of what you do or what you say, you can not force someone to be a dad. I’m currently waiting for my son to begin school so I can continue with my education to become a pharmacist.My Advice:My advice that I give to young teenage girls is to wait. Waiting will guarantee and show you that you have all your life to find love, to have a family and to have a commitment. Education is such a vital accessory that we should thrive to receive especially at a young age. My advice to teen moms is to stay strong, to have confidence in themselves, love on their children and most importantly push forward in getting an education to better yourself and your children. Being a mom is not easy itself, but being a teen mom is difficult. The sacrifices you make for your children change you, break you and eventually make you who you are. Not at any moment do I regret my children or will I change what I been through but I know that motherhood is not for everyone and how you view yourself will impact your success. Focus on you, focus on your education and most importantly love yourself and your children.
Ms. Debbie’s Note: I just want to say how moved I was with Samantha’s Story and how proud COPE is of her pride and relentless struggle to acheive her dreams. She is another example of how hard work and determination gets you ahead in this world and it is this type of story that motivates me to do stay working, praying and guiding my girls!
Ms.Debbie’s Note: I have been wanting Jannah to write her story for quite awhile and I am thrilled that she responded so quickly. Jannah was one of those stand-out students at COPE that was so respectful and kind to EVERYONE. I have been tracking her comings and goings for about two years now and I have been seeing her as such a strong-minded Christian Leader with so many positive accomplishments in her life. For this reason I have chosen Jannah as our Celebrity Mom for our website…Congratulations Jannah!
At the tender age of 14, I welcomed my first child, a daughter, Qui’aurie, into the world. At 17 years I discovered that I was pregnant with my second child, a son, Qui’vonce. I remembers thinking to myself over and over “I never thought that it would happen again”! I felt my life was over.
In early 2001, I battled severe depression and suicide. This is a period in my life which I define as my divine opportunity to recognize my need for a savior. I recalls speaking to Miss Debbie about this condition and I often quote the advice she gave to me, “stop the stinking thinking.” It sounds funny but it really helped. By the middle of that year my life was radically changed by the Love of God. Today I spend my time passionately pouring that same Love into to the lives of everyone I encounter through various speaking opportunities and one-on-one counseling sessions.
In 2008 I married Shawn Welcome, a nationally recognized performance Poet, Author and Motivational Speaker. My husband and I are both entrepreneurs and share a passion for our Anti-aging company helping others to maintain that fountain of youth look with our beloved product Nerium. I currently works for Wycliffe Bible Translators USA Headquarters here in Orlando, Florida, and serve on the Board of Directors for Bethany Christian Services, a private, licensed, non-profit adoption and family service agency. This agency serves 30 states from over 70 locations and 13 international countries. In July of 2011 I formed a women’s group called B.L.U.S.H. which stands for Bountiful Love Under Sound Happiness. B.L.U.S.H. brings woman from all walks of life together in order to strengthen each other through organic relationships. B.L.U.S.H. is founded upon the truth that although we are all diverse, we have these in common: strength, endurance and love.
Attending COPE was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. Miss Debbie and Mrs. Anne were always there to encourage me every step of the way. I also learned amazing parenting skills and experienced how to bond with my children in ways that could impact them forever. As a teenage mom there were really no options outside of getting my GED that would allow me to bring my children to school and continue my education in an environment that catered to my situation. I would not be who I am today without Miss Debbie and the “COPE team.
My advice to every young mother: Always remember that it’s not where you have been or what you have been through that determines where you are going. Your past does not determine your future. Know that you can change your future by simply changing the way you think…your philosophy about life. If you are not pleased with the current state of your life, the relationship you have (boyfriend), the money that you make, you have the power to change it! Nothing changes in our lives until we change. We have all made mistakes and guess what? We always will. Learn from them. Love yourself and you can learn to love others. Never let anyone look down on you because you are young. You can accomplish anything and even twice as much with courage, faith and a solid “made up mind”. GO FOR IT!
Without COPE where would I be?, Possibly on drugs? with another child?, but most definitely without a diploma. COPE gave me motivation to be a better me not only for myself but most importantly for my son.
before COPE I had terrible grades, disrespected my mother, didn’t have a job, and was going down a terrible path. At COPE I did a complete 360%. I graduated with a 3.6 GPA as President of the Class of “08” I started working as a photographer after I graduated and went to Valencia to study Accounting. COPE taught me the responsibility of motherhood and the importance of a child;s education. My son is now being tested for gifted classes in Kindergarten because he is so advanced for his age. He is a very healthy boy playing flag football for the Osceola Kowboys.
When times were rough in high school and I didn’t have means to make ends meet let alone buy diapers or formula for my son, COPE was there and helped me provide for my son.
I am just one of the many young mothers that COPE has inspired to be the best mother they could be. To do without the program would be a tragedy. You would be taking away from the generations of children here in Osceola County that could utilize the help and become amazing young adults for our future…..Thank you for Listening!
I want to congratulate Kritzia for accomplishing so much since getting her high school diploma. She was always so positive at COPE and worked so hard with her schoolwork. There was never a doubt in my mind that Kritzia would go on to higher education and pursue a field that shows off her talents. What a great example she is to any teen mom who ever thinks their future is at a “dead-end” or a “stand-still”. Way to go Kritzia….you make us proud!!!!
I was a teen mom and had my first daughter at 16 years of age. I graduated from high school in 2006 and have 3 children; genesis, who is 7 years old, Yadriel, who is 4 years old and Yeray, who is 3 years old. I am currently employed in a nursing home. I recently graduated with an Associates Degree in Nursing and Applied Science with honors. Currently I am starting my Bachelors in Nursing and plan to enroll in an Intensive Care Unit Program for adults and elderly. These are my goals and accomplishments.
Advice: It is not an easy situation being pregnant at a young age, but don’t give up your dreams just because you got pregnant. Yes, it is difficult being young, having no help, no transportation or no job at that age. But, there’s always someone who will help you and motivate you to keep on going like Ms.Debbie, Ms.Purcell and Mr.Myers They all helped me so much. I was 16, pregnant, working two jobs and going to school and look at me now….I am a Registered Nurse. I thank my teachers for their advice and always telling me I was a hard worker. My advice is to always work hard to better yourself, get educated……. and never give up no matter how hard it is…… eventually you will accomplish your dreams.
Congratulations to our July Celebrity Mom Sherrie Fletcher Evartt. I have been watching Sherrie on Facebook for a few years now always posting positive messages to her friends as well as parenting advice and ideas. Sherrie has shown her entrepreneur skills in many ways but her Lil Mamas and Papas Cloth Diapers are one of the best environmental ideas I have seen lately.( and if you have ever taken Environmental Science with me you would know why this is important). Kudos to Sherrie and I hope many of you gals support her in her business venture.
Name: Sherrie Evartt (Fletcher)
Children: Britney (11) Jared (9) Hunter (8) Kimberly (5) Kole (3) Alaina (3 months)
Accomplishments: GED, Lil Mamas And Papas (online store), raising my beautiful kids as a stay-at-home mom, buying a house.
Ultimate dream to raise happy heathly kiddos, attend college when they are all in school, massage therapy, ASL “American Sign Language”
Message/Advice: My advice to a mom (teen mom/first mom/mom-of-many): You are their mother and you know your child best. You will hear MILLIONS of comments/advice that other people will think you should do or try. ALL babies are different. You can try what you want, if it fails, oh well. It is your child to raise YOUR child! How you want to raise them is your business. If you feel something is wrong, trust your gut. Even if everything turns out fine it is better to be safe than sorry. Then, you will feel better that you worried for nothing rather than not worrying and something truly bad happens.
My advice to moms: research, research, research. We have the world at our finger tips. Make informed/educated choices! You will be shocked what they don’t tell you!
Here is my story!
Hello, My name is Sherrie. I got pregnant in October of 2002 with my first son. He was born 6 weeks early, due to Pre-eclampsia. He was born May 27, 2003, 3 weeks to the day after my 16th Birthday. When I first found out I was pregnant, I was sooo excited and scared at the same time. I told my mother, yes, she was shocked and disappointed, but she was very supportive. She called and told my father. He too was very supportive. We had a happy bouncing baby ball of joy. We all dearly loved him. Jared’s father and I were not together, but he and his parents were also supportive. His parents even offered to adopt my son, which I took in a positive way. It was not like they were trying to take my son away from me. I kept my son and attended COPE while I was pregnant, and returned back to school when Jared was 3 months old. Every summer Jared and I would go to Pensacola, FLorida for the summer so Jared could see his father and his grandparents. I believe I had an easier road than some teen moms. No, it wasn’t easy but my parents and Richard’s parents made it easier both money- wise and support- wise. Jared was breast-fed up until about 7 and half months. He was a chunky monkey. He loved the day care at COPE and loved all the ladies. I don’t know where I would be right now without the help of Mrs. Debbie and Mr. Myers. They too were very supportive.
In 2006 I moved to Texas with my father and I earned my GED because the high school wanted me to stay in school for a full year in order to get my 1.5 credits in science and foreign language. They wouldn’t help with daycare so I just wasn’t able to do that so I went for my GED.
When Jared was three years old ( January 12 ) I went on my first date with my husband. He had two kiddos , Britney and Hunter. We got serious, he proposed, and we were married 2 years to the day of our first date January of 09. We got pregnant with our son Kole on January of 09. While I was pregnant I had discovered the Cloth Diaper Life. People thought I was crazy including my family and in-laws. They thought it was cool to a point, but didn’t think I would stick with it. BUT I did and I have been CDing for 4 years now. I will post some links to get ahold of me if anyone is interested, but back to my story. I had Kole three weeks early on September 5th 2008, another healthy bouncing baby boy. He too was breast fed. While I was still new to my cloth diapering world, I was on a forum all about cloth diapering, and other parenting advice too. I read about extended breast feeding. I am a die-hard advocate of breast feeding, and this was something I had never heard of. I had always thought that you breast feed untill age one, and then you were SUPPOSE to stop. Well I read differently. WHO (Breastfeeding Organization) recommends breasting to at least the age of one, and as long as mother and baby are comfortable. Granted, I’m sure it isn’t for all, but I am more than proud to say that I breast feed Kole till he was 3 years old. The month he stopped breast feeding, I got pregnant with my daughter…go figure ….:P.
While I was pregnant with my daughter, we got custody of my husband’s other daughter, Kimberly. So, we now had 5 kids and pregnant with number 6. I’m sure you can see the looks when we go out of the house together. Giggle. Alaina was a very hard pregnancy but we both made it through. I was able to have my first non-medicated birth, and it was so great. I would do it over again in a heartbeat!! It was just amazing. She too is, of course, a boobie baby and will be until she decides to stop. She is 3 months old right now and a happy little girl.
I am now 25, married to the love of my life, with 6 kids. I am buying my first house, have a 2012 Traverse, and I’m truly happy as I can be. It can be done!!! I never in my life thought I would own a brand new house and car, 6 kids, and a husband that loves me just as much as I love him. I am sooo truly happy. I honestly believe that if it wasn’t for COPE I would not be the mom/woman I am today. COPE helped me in so many ways it isn’t funny. I also have to thank my parents and Richard and his family. Without them too I would not be who I am today.
The end of my story..:
For those of you who are interested in cloth diapers, I also make cloth diapers, and have a little store on Facebook. Lil Mamas And Papas is the name, search it and email me. I will answer all questions and can even make you cloth diaper/trainers. OR I can link you to sites to buy used cloth diapers and help find some awesome deals..:)
For those who are interested in learning more about extended breast feeding, or even about breast feeding in general, please contact me on Facebook or my email. Facebook Sherrie Evartt Email: “http://firstname.lastname@example.org”
Something else I want to add is that I am VERY anti-circumcising and would love to talk to anyone that is interested in the pros and cons. I will NOT push you into a choice of whether or not to do it or not. I just ask that parents are informed of what really happens and can happen. Here in the US most parents just think it is normal,I don’t think it isn’t normal anymore. Also here in the US they do not always give info about circumcising and what can happen. They hand you a paper and ask you to mark yes or no. Again, you can contact me through FB or Email…:)
I also didn’t discuss Baby Wearing. MANY cultures wear their babies. Here, in the US it isn’t so common, but it is amazing no matter the age of you baby( NB to 35+ plus pounds). Babies feel safer when they are close to their wearing, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, gramma, grampa..ect. I would love to send you in the right direction..:)
I would love to share my stories about cloth diapers, breastfeeding, and non-circumcising my sons please don’t hesitate to contact me..:)
For the month of June I have chosen Grace to be our Celebrity Mom because of the inspiration she gives me when I see her Facebook posts about what is going on in her life. Through all the turmoil she has gone through in life she always manages to stay positive and on task on following her goals. I can remember saying goodbye to grace in my driveway the night before she went to boot camp…what a great sacrifice she had to make leaving Chloe behind….but as I followed her journey I never doubted that “Gracie” wouldn’t succeed in anything she sets her mind to. Wishing her all the happiness in life!
Name: Grace Swartz
Children: Chloe Swartz
Accomplishments: With faith, and support… I graduated high school early. I then went to college to be a dental assistant. After working in a dental office for a few months I joined the United States Navy as a Master at Arms.
Ultimate dream: I just want Chloe up here!
Message: Through the Navy I received my secret security clearance. After boot camp and “A” school I came home to the tough job market. So I packed my Hyundai Sonata to the celling and drove to the oil boom in North Dakota. I met the man of my dreams, and I have a home here for Chloe. Even though I have made a lot of sacrifices in my relationship with Chloe, I always consider her future first. I have a good job, amazing support system, and God by my side. I have overcome so much in such a short time. I know all things are possible, and someone ALWAYS cares!
Jeremiah 29:11 ”For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Tiffany was chosen this month because of her perseverance to finish what she set out to accomplish. Tiffany was a high achiever when she attended COPE and I know all of her fellow students will agree how focused she was on her studies and her beautiful daughter. Tiffany’s personality and spirit was the reason I chose her to represent COPE at the Celebration Book Store when they gave us a baby shower full of donations. There is no doubt that Tiffany is meant to inspire other teen moms and has discovered all the steps to a successful and meaningful life.
Name: Tiffany Davis (Falcon)
Children: Jalisa Davis, 4
Accomplishments: Graduated High School 2008. A.S. at Valencia College 2010. Currently working on my R.N. at Valencia College. Graduating in May 2013.
Ultimate dream to become a Labor and Delivery nurse.
Message/Advice: Being a teen parent is one the hardest things a teen could go through but also one of the most rewarding. Having to grow up quickly and care for another human being is life altering. Having children brings the best out of you. It can give you the motivation and drive to do things that you never thought was even possible. It doesn’t matter how old you are you can be an amazing parent to your child and become a successful person in life. This is what COPE instilled in me: Your future is what you make of it!! You don’t have to become another teen statistic!! Im so grateful for having wonderful examples in my life like Ms. Debbie. Going to nursing school and raising my daughter is not easy but I’m so thankful for the opportunity and I’m enjoying every minute of it.
“Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture.”
-Lydia M. Child