"I was 15 when I got pregnant. I didn't even know how to change a diaper and now here I was having a baby. I was scared and confused out of my mind: what would become of me? I had a rough pregnancy; I was always sick and depressed. My baby was born premature and only weighed 4lbs. 11oz. I cried every time I had to enter the NICU. It made matters worse for me to hear things such as 'What is this little girl doing having a baby?' You just learn to ignore people."
"I give much credit to the PEARLS program for helping me become the lady that I am today. Before I was in PEARLS, my self-esteem was very low; but the help and support I received has made me come a long way from that point. I am very grateful for this program because I've gained so much knowledge about relationships, discipline, and, most importantly, life itself. I've learned to have a positive outlook on life no matter how bad it gets. I celebrated my son's second birthday the same day as my high school graduation. It was a special coincidence with a great meaning behind it: this was meant to happen. It proved to me that, yes, I am strong, determined young woman who can overcome anything that comes my way."
Jennifer has graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. She is now pursuing a master's degree in cyber-security at the University of Maryland University College.