SHARECOMMENTMORE

"He's really funny. He's crazy," the 19-year-old said with a smile.

Garcia wasn't talking about her boyfriend. She was talking about her son, Gabriel. He's three years old.

"It's not easy [being a teen mom,]" she said. "We're trying our best not to live off of the government. We want to succeed. And that's why we keep coming to school."

Garcia is a student at Florence Crittenton High School in Denver. The school is focused on pregnant or parenting girls, giving them not only an education but also life skills.

As a senior, Garcia is engrossed in classes like advanced algebra and accounting. But she and the other girls at the school had secretly hoped to have one typical high school experience: Prom.

"[My friends say] it's the best ever," said Garcia.

Florence Crittenton School executive volunteer Tammy Berberick helped conduct a survey that found the same results. Instead of just throwing a prom for fun, administrators decided to incorporate a few academic lessons.

"The girls are learning how to plan, how to sequence, how to budget, how to market, how to sell tickets. All of that," said Berberick. "We could not have figured out a better way to apply leadership skills."

But covering the expenses of prom is not easy.

"Dresses are about $200. Maybe more," said 17-year-old Amber Martinez, mother of two-year-old Maricela.

That's why prom coordinators thought it was important to solicit donations. The school has gotten so many donations, that any girl who wants a prom dress can have one for free. Some of the dresses were donated by Miss Colorado USA and Miss Teen Colorado USA.

"Just to be able to get a dress and not worry about how I'm going to get diapers next month because I spent it all on a dress," said Martinez.

Student stylists from Empire Beauty School will style the girls' hair. A supporter of the school has also gotten the University of Denver's hospitality school to provide a venue.

But for as many positive responses as the teens have gotten, they've gotten just as many negative responses.

"Some of them, right way, will just be like 'No, I don't want to help,'" said Martinez, who called various businesses, asking for donations.

"A lot of people have a negative view of us. And they think we don't deserve a night, just because we're teen moms."

Martinez said the criticism made her not want to go to prom. But she has decided to attend, admitting that she may be thinking about her daughter the entire time.

"When you're gone, that's all you think about. Your baby," she said. "I know that's what I do."

*The Florence Crittenton School will host its Miles for Moms 5k Run/Walk and 2K Walk/Stroller on May 12th at 9 a.m. at Sloan's Lake Park. For more information, visit: http://www.parentpathways.org/run_walk.html