Defying The Odds

Posted on by Mike Green

by Lauren Long

For most high school students, the most important day of their young lives is the day they graduate from high school. Families gather in crowded football stadiums to watch their loved one walk across the field in cap and gown to receive their diploma. While it probably took these students many late nights of studying and cramming for tests to earn that piece of paper, our teen moms had dirty diapers, sleepless nights and countless doctors appointments to deal with as well. When you’re a teenage mother, completing an education often takes a backseat to everything else you’re dealing with. You hear the statistics all the time: 40% of teenage mothers drop out of high school and only a mere 2% earn a college degree by age 20, but not teen mom Cierra Flakes.

To Cierra, graduation day is one she has been eagerly awaiting. Not only because she will finally have her diploma in hand, but because of something much more significant; Cierra is this year’s Valedictorian at Central High School. Yes, you heard that right…valedictorian. Not what you would think of when you hear the words teen mom is it? But here at Youth for Christ we are seeing first-hand the power the Teen Moms program has in helping our young mothers beat the odds. Over the past two years our graduation rates have been astonishing. In 2010 we had 35 out of 37 seniors graduate and in 2011 we had 30 out of 38 teen mothers graduate. Our program is centered around encouraging these young mothers and coming alongside them with the support they need during a difficult time in their life. We believe in the potential of each and every student in our ministry and we give God all the glory, honor and praise for the lives He is changing.

Upon graduating Cierra plans to attend the University of Alabama to study pre-med with the goal of going onto medical school to become a doctor. She has a long hard journey ahead of her but she is dedicated not only to pursuing her dreams but to making a better life for her and her child. Every step of the way Cierra is proving that she is willing to work hard to overcome the statistics that say she won’t make it. She’s doing it for her daughter. She’s doing it for herself. She’s doing it for her future.



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