From Teen Parenthood To Blossom
It was before the holidays last year when I was in a room filled with men and women – some of whom began their journey toward adulthood as teenage parents. We were there to celebrate a momentous occasion – the one year anniversary for a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting young mothers and fathers through their many hurdles. Rosemary’s Babies is the brainchild of my dear friend Rosemary Ogelsby-Henry, who had her first child while still in high school and who was determined to not let her personal circumstances stand in her way of success. This is a very personal cause for Rosemary. It is why she spends just about every waking moment thinking about the impact she wants to have with her organization.
And, on that evening, we were there to applaud and support her – and all the volunteers who have helped to make that celebration possible.
Robin Nichole, family assistant specialist contractor at Kentucky National Guard Family Programs, was honored that night with the ‘A Rose Who Blossomed Through Concrete Award’. It is a recognition given to a parent who started his/her adult life as a teen parent and blossomed. It goes to someone who encompasses leadership and wears these qualities as a badge of honor: respect, honest, integrity, trustworthiness, and good citizenship.
In her introduction of Nichole, Rosemary shared, “‘At 15, the love of your family is awesome but it is your community that can be awful. Robin was ostracized, labeled, and heart and body beaten from the boy she thought she loved. Through it all her beautiful baby girl kept her. Her family supported her and her faith guided her. Robin has accomplished EVERY goal that she has set for herself. She now advocates for others (veterans) who are broken or who society claims are broken.”
Below is a portion of Robin’s acceptance speech.
In her own words:
“I was 15 and a sophomore in high school when I found out I was expecting Sydnee who is now engaged. I had two years left in high school and a dream of becoming a police officer when I became pregnant. I was involved in a teen organization, Police Explorers, where teens learn how to be police officers. I was told I was not what they wanted. My parents marched into the police chief’s office and said, ‘no, all these girls are doing it and she is just the one who got pregnant.’ I graduated high school with a two year old and when I was walking down the aisle, I heard my two year old scream, ‘Yay mommy!’ I went to college right away and everyone said I wouldn’t. They said I wouldn’t be a cop. They said I wouldn’t be anything. And I graduated college on the dean’s list. I am working on a double master’s with a 4.0. My daughter Sydnee has broken the cycle. She is marrying a great man who is serving our country. If they tell you you can’t do it, you tell them, watch me. That is the reason I had a child without an epidural -because my mom said I couldn’t do it. I truthfully could not have overcome everything without my parents. This award is not mine, it is theirs because they let me live at home home, helped with Sydnee so I could work, go to the police academy and serve on the streets. We are all trying to do the best we can. I met my husband when Sydnee was about 8 and he adopted her. She got her daddy. I am humbled and honored. Thank you to Rosemary for all you do.”