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      Women's Resource Center: Lend a helping hand for the Doula Teen Parent Program

      The Women's Resource Center is in need of volunteers for their weekly empowerment group meetings at Traverse City High School. The empowerment group is a service provided through the Doula Teen Parent Program.

      Samantha Wagner became a client of the Doula Teen Parent Program after she graduated from high school four years ago.

      "I started coming August of 2008 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter," Wagner said.

      She comes with her three-year-old daughter Alivia every Wednesday. Samantha meets with other young moms who are part of the empowerment group.

      Wagner said they talk about how to budget expenses, offer each other advice, and help one another get through stressful situations.

      "That gives me my one night a week where I can just sit there and relax and not have to worry about what my daughter is doing every two seconds," Wagner said.

      Samantha is now pursuing her associate degree in liberal arts and sciences.

      "The work load is a lot different having her around, and she does like to distract me," Wagner said. It's really hard to stay focused, but I'm doing it."

      The Doula Teen Parent Program provides labor and delivery support, empowerment groups for young moms, as well as mentors and access to a baby pantry.

      Kristina Drapeau is a Doula Client Advocate in Traverse City.

      Drapeau said the Women's Resource Center covers five counties. This includes: Antrim, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Grand Traverse and Benzie county.

      She leads the empowerment group that meets at Traverse City High School once a week.

      "This is kind of a way for them to spend time with other young moms that know what they're going through," Drapeau said. "So that they can have that additional peer support that they might not have outside of the group."

      Kristina and the empowerment group mean a lot to Samantha who hasn't missed a week since she first started attending.

      "She's just amazing," Samantha said. "It's just a good place to call when I'm stressed out."

      The Doula Teen Parent Program is in need of volunteers to care for the children of these women while they meet for their empowerment group.

      "Right now, we have one active volunteer. Last week we had nine children and obviously one volunteer can't watch nine children at once," Drapeau said. "So we had to do the group and have the children all in the same room, which, as you can imagine, isn't really going to be a group."

      The empowerment group meets 5:30-7:00 p.m. every Wednesday at Traverse City High School.

      You can sign up here if you would like to volunteer or email the Volunteer Coordinator, Allison Seeley at aseeley@wrcgt.com, to get involved.

      The Women's Resource Center provides education, support, counseling, housing and advocacy - through community collaboration - to end domestic and sexual violence and promote an equitable, safe environment for all.

      For more information about the Women's Resource Center and services they provide you can visit their website, http://www.womensresourcecenter.org/.