TULSA, Okla. — "I hated school, I didn't want to be in school, I wanted nothing to do with it," Leah Blevins said. "It was gross."
It's easy to see Leah Blevins didn't enjoy high school. She hated it even more after becoming pregnant.
Fortunately Blevins found a non-profit called JAMES, Inc. JAMES stands for "Just About Mothers Excelling In School." The group not only helps pregnant adolescents, it also helps everyone effected by the pregnancy.
"We work with mothers, fathers, grandmothers, little sisters, anyone that is actually impacted by the pregnancy of that young person and anyone that may need a service," said Alisa Bell, Founder of JAMES, Inc.
Bell became a mother at 15 years old. At 23, she went to college and realized something very important and very necessary wasn't happening.
"No one was really motivating young parents or even explaining the opportunity for college to young parents," Bell said.
Bell founded JAMES, Inc. and now provides scholarship programs that support educational achievement for those up to 24 years old.
"Our mission is to lead these expecting and parenting families to self-sufficiency," she said.
In 2008 Bell started the Educational Doula program to provide one-on-one support before, during, and after the achievement of educational goals.
"We don't focus on the children," she said. "We focus on the parent and what the parent wants to accomplish."
The JAMES, Inc. program was a game changer for Blevins.
"They've helped me find my voice and find my purpose, Blevins said. "We've gone through many classes."
Those classes helped Blevins realize her purpose is to education, advocate, and create. As long as she's doing that, she's happy. Blevins is now enrolled at TCC and close to graduating.
"It's amazing because it's taken me probably 6 years to get my associates," Blevins said. "But I did not give up and James, Inc. never gave up on me."