Beaufort Co. program helps teen moms graduate

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – In Beaufort County, a program is credited with helping teen moms walk across the stage.

One teenager is graduating thanks to the program.

“I’m going to want to cry and I never thought the moment would get here,” said Belen Solano, teen mother.

This weekend, Solano is beating the odds of teen pregnancy by graduating high school.

“And now I can move on to the next chapter in my life,” she added.

But this chapter, high school, wasn’t easy because she was pregnant at 15.

“I was scared,” she said. “My dad went through it. He was 15 when he had my brother and I just didn’t. I was just embarrassed.”

Now, she brings her daughter Mikaylah to walk the halls one last time to reflect on the hurdles she had to overcome.

“Here at school, the kids would just talk about me and the others that were pregnant. It would make me cry because they just didn’t know what I was going through,” she explained, saying she would not be where she is today without the help of the Higher Heights program.

“When you graduate from high school, you’ll make more money at a job,” said Dr. Christie Moler, program coordinator. “And if you go on to college, you’ll make more money at a job and you’ll be better able to provide for your child and be the parent that you want to be.”

Moler not only pushes young parents to reach their goals and stay in school but also provides support.

“They provide, like, food for the kids if we don’t have clothes,” said Solano. “Anything you need, they will probably get it just so you can come to school.”

Belen said she’s ready for her next chapter with Mikaylah by her side and hopes one day she’ll make her proud.

Dr. Moler said they’re working with the county to bring a maternity home to the area to further aid students while they finish school.

They are holding a fundraiser for the home on June 30th.

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