Want to see babies dressed up cute while supporting a good cause?
Eckerd Adolescent Parenting Program of Rockingham is hosting a Toddler Fashion Show and Donation Drive to help the young parents of Richmond County. The fashion show will take place April 11 at 6 p.m. at Leak Street High School, former Ashley Chapel School, at 377 Mizpah Road, Rockingham.
According to the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics, Richmond County ranks number 1 out of 100 counties in repeat teen pregnancy. These numbers are based on data from 2011.
“This program (Eckerd) is designed to help increase the graduation rate for young parents and decrease the number of teenage pregnancies or repeated pregnancies through education and support,” said Jacqueline Ellerbe-Shannon, adolescent parenting coordinator. “We have to try to find a way to help students stay in school. Child care is a big issue so they may not find someone to watch their children all day. If they have no education, they have no job. So they stay home and engage in sexual activity. We have to find child care dollars for the teens to be able to stay in school.”
In order for the community to support the teens, a donation drive will accompany the toddler fashion show. Although no items will be turned down, items needed are books for children so that parents may read to them, self-help books for teen parents, educational toys for children ages 0-5, as well as clothes, diapers or wipes. High chairs, strollers, bouncers, car seats, booster seats, activity gyms and walkers are also sought.
An entree fee of $3 will be accepted as a donation to the program for those who come to the toddler fashion show. The proceeds go to fund a social outing for teen parents and their children, which will be to the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro.
“I just want them to not worry for one day about anything,” said Ellerbe-Shannon. “We’ll charter a bus and provide lunch.”
In order to qualify for the program, students must attend school daily and attend group meetings when possible. Ellerbe-Shannon said there are currently 16 students in the program, with the youngest being 15 years old. The students meet at Leak Street School in the Ashley Chapel community. According to Ellerbe-Shannon, this is the second year of the program.
For the fashion show, children will range from ages 0-3 years old, and will wear casual wear and dress clothes. The fashion show is open to any teen and their child for participation.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.