Program helps teen parents return to school

AURORA – When Taylour Lombardi realized she was pregnant, the idea of finishing high school seemed difficult.

"I was very scared when I found I was pregnant. I was 16 years old," Lombardi said. "When I was pregnant, school didn't necessarily fit in everything that I had going on."

Lombardi's perspective has changed. Now, she takes her nearly 2-year-old daughter, Sofia, to the Aurora Public Schools Early Beginnings program for help.

"It's free daycare for my daughter," Lombardi said. "Last year, I struggled with daycare this whole area."

APS opened this program on the Jamaica Child Development Campus near 8th Avenue and Jamaica Street in Aurora to provide support to teen parents like Lombardi to give them a chance to return to school.

"To be a teen parent and continue in school and take care of your child and your family takes a lot of courage," Anita Walker, Early Childhood Education Coordinator, said. "By us providing this for them and their family, they're able to do those things that they've been wanting to."

Lombardi is seeking her GED through the Colorado Youth for Change Futures Program.

"I just want to finish school," Lombardi said. "I want to get a business degree and I don't want to be a bum."

Now, she can concentrate on her studies without having to worry about her daughter for part of the day.

"I can't study and I can't take care of my daughter at the same time," Lombardi said.

Walker says Early Beginnings will eventually be a hub for care services for young families. She hopes to assist parents like Lombardi in matters of finding proper health care and with mental health issues.

"It's because of the mill levy funding that we're able to pay for this program," Walker said.

In 2012, voters approved a property tax increase to generate $15 million for Aurora Public Schools. The district says construction costs of the new building were made possible by donations from the Piton Foundation, Foundation for Educational Excellence, Gates Family Foundation, Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation and Qualistar Colorado.

"I trust where's she's at. I trust who she's with," Lombardi said. "You know, I didn't trust anyone else with her. So, it was definitely a change."

Lombardi wants to change her life, not only for herself, but for Sofia.

"I have a daughter to take care of now and she's definitely helped me mature in a lot of ways," Lombardi said.


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