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T.E.A. for You: Teen Parents Excelling Through Adversity

Friday, May 27, 2011

T.E.A. for You, ExpertBailWhen you think of a bail bond agent, what type of person do you picture? Do you see rough looking characters with tattoos and gold chains running through the streets with guns? Or do you see a group of people providing support and guidance to young women? If you answered yes to the first option, you wouldn’t be alone. If you answered yes to the second option, then you are probably familiar with ExpertBail. As the first and only national brand in the bail bond industry, ExpertBail is comprised of the industry’s most experienced and professional bail agents in the country. And they aren’t just good agents, they are good people. We can’t think of a better example than ExpertBail Agent, Gloria Mitchell.

T.E.A. for You, ExpertBailGloria Mitchell is the founder of T. E.A. for You (Teens parents Excelling through Adversity), a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities and educational scholarships for teenage parents to help them stay in school. Being the mother of a teenager who became pregnant, Gloria experienced firsthand, the challenges and hardships that many teenage girls across the country have to face…and many times they are facing it alone. Gloria felt it was time to step up and make a difference.

The life of a high school senior is an exciting time with prom, graduation, preparing for college and the prospect of what your future will hold. But for some students, their adult life begins before they graduate. While never planned, 30% of all teenagers in the United States get pregnant before the age of 20, according to the Center for Disease Control. While the days of being shunned and being forced to attend a school for pregnant teens are long gone, the life of a pregnant teen or a teen parent is still one of fear, uncertainty and the need for guidance on how to continue their education.

T.E.A. for You, ExpertBailThe T.E.A. for You luncheon is hosted by Soroptimist International of Puente Hills, a worldwide women’s organization dedicated to the empowerment of women. The Keynote and Panel Speakers at this year’s event all lived the life of a teen mother. Participants included Allison Benson, Principal of Sierra Vista Elementary School and Founder of A. K.’s Loved Ones and Lelaine Palos, a High School Outreach Specialist for Mt. San Antonio Collage, who obtained her master’s degree after becoming pregnant as a teen. Also on the panel was Candice Morris, Gloria’s daughter, who is a bail agent herself and the inspiration behind the event.  The last participant was Karen Crawford, whose list of accomplishments is extensive; she is currently a school teacher, a stunt person, a 5th degree black belt, a racecar driver and superbike racer and she also was a teen mother.

T.E.A. for You, ExpertBailAll of the women told the attendees that no matter how difficult life may seem now, your future is completely within your own control. There are many things that people may say about you but they can never take away your education.

Keynote Speaker, Chan Clark from the House of Ruth, talked to the students about beauty and self worth. Reminding them that true beauty comes from within and took each of the students through an exercise on how to give themselves and their children positive affirmations throughout their life.

ExpertBail was honored to award two $500 scholarships.  The first scholarship went to Jacinda Quintanar, who aspires to attend UC Berkley where she will major in journalism and hopes to one day have her own column in the Los Angeles Times. The second scholarship was awarded to Johanna Tavares who wishes to earn a degree in biology and ultimately becoming an anesthesiologist.
ExpertBail TEA for You, Jacinda Quintanar & Johanna Tavares
In addition to ExpertBail supporting these young teens, fellow ExpertBail Agents Anthony Armstrong, Gary Konnecke and Jesse Padilla also donated scholarships funds.
The most exciting part of the day for Gloria came after the event ended. With the popularity of television programs like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, Gloria’s event was covered by Univision, the Spanish language television station. During their 4:00 news broadcast they ran a story about the event and the scholarship program. Since the story aired, Gloria has received dozens of phone calls from women who are teen mothers and those who were teen mothers and are now in their 20’s and want to go back to school. Even family members of teen mothers are calling to ask for her help. In speaking with Gloria this morning she said, “I have always hoped this event would touch someone’s life and inspire them. With the response this news story has received I now want to look at expanding the program. Let’s encourage those who did not complete high school to go back and get their diplomas.”