United Way of the Mid-South donates baby items to expecting young mothers in Memphis.

We at United Way of the Mid-South believe that what every young mother needs is a chance to succeed.

That’s why we support and donate baby items to the Adolescent Parenting Program. An arm of Shelby County Schools, the program is a school for expecting and current teenaged mothers.

The Smart Start Baby Shower offers a chance for mothers to receive gifts and donations from volunteers while enjoying games, treats, and advice from other women in the community. The students also participate in the pop-up baby store, compiled of baby items the mothers can purchase with “baby bucks.”

This year, United Way volunteers donated over $3000 in baby items including diapers, bibs, onesies, and more. Over fifty eager mothers attended the shower and participated in the pop-up baby store.

“It was very rewarding to see the excitement on the young ladies faces as they expressed gratitude to our volunteers for providing resources that are needed. This is just one way of many that we are living UNITED in our community,” said Lori Evans, Corporate & Community Engagement Associate at United Way of the Mid-South.

The Adolescent Parenting Center offers regular curriculum and teen parenting classes; makes referrals to Shelby County Schools mental health team; provides daycare for babies six weeks to 3-years-old; and onsite necessary prenatal screenings (checks fetal heartbeat and blood pressure).

Teenage pregnancy amongst 18-19-year-olds in Shelby County dropped from 1,601 in 2011 to 930 in 2016. The Adolescent Parenting Program is one of the few local programs dedicated to serving and providing wrap-around care for teen moms as well as promoting preventative education and resources toward decreasing teenage pregnancy in the county.

Because of United Way, programs like this one continue to combat stigma, support young women in need, and tackle poverty through education, financial stability, and health.