Young Mothers Are Strong
( YMAS Program )
Young Mothers Are Strong (or YMAS) is a program for
pregnant/parenting adolescent females who are at high risk
of a second pregnancy. The initial pilot group of young women
choose the model's name - Las Madres Jovenes Estan Fuertes.
The education/support group model includes
ten 1.5-hour sessions offered weekly. Topics are: Communication; Feelings & Defenses;
Chemical Dependency including Fetal Alcohol and Other Drug Exposed Children;
Chemically Dependent Families; Relationships (Domestic Violence and Abuse);
and Decision-Making & Reproductive Heath Issues. The original model has been
expanded into a yearlong course for sites requesting continuing services.
Pilot sites continue to implement the model using trained and mentored
on-site staff and peer co-leaders.
At the conclusion
of group, participants showed significant improvement in
- Knowledge about family functioning.
- Coping skills and decision-making ability.
- Knowledge of chemical dependency.
- "Regular use" of birth control.
- Emotional functioning.
- Learning how to share feelings, opening up and trusting someone.
- Learning that they were good people: strong, independent and important.
- Use birth control on the average to either "every time" or "most of time
- Knowing how to say no and refusing to participant in something they did not want to do
- Were more likely
- to say they had been taught about AIDS or HIV infection
- to say "felt good about the things I can do "
- to say "they had learned how to wait and work for the things they want"
- to say "I understand how to set goals for myself"
- to agree that they had discussed with someone how to avoid pregnancy.
- Were less likely
- to use cocaine or speed (significantly)
- to have been in a fight in the last six months.
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