As a whole, the Western New York region has the fourth highest rate of teen pregnancy in New York, according to the Department of Health.
Project Stork Inc. is trying to combat that issue, by not only educating teens about pregnancy prevention, but also providing resources to young parents that might need assistance.
Jenny Staebell had her first kid when she was 19 years old. During that time she noticed the lack of organizations that could help other young mothers in her shoes. In 2016, to combat this, she founded Project Stork Inc.
"We primarily help pregnant and parenting teens assist with any needs they may need as far as parenting classes. We [also] look at career and educational goals, and we really try to focus on reducing that rate of rapid repeat pregnancies within that first range of 12 to 24 months, after they have their first little ones," Staebell said.
The non-profit is located on Main Street in Albion. Staebell also makes home visits anywhere in the surrounding area, including Buffalo and Rochester.
During monthly meetings, Staebell works with parents on finances, education, and career goals, and even provides child birth classes. Through donations, there are also diapers and clothing available for kids.
"With our monthly meetings, when we set goals and we meet together, they will leave with supplemental diapers and wipes and any clothing they may need from our Ellie's friendship closet. There they can grab whatever supplies they may need, it's really unlimited to them," Staebell said.
Thanks to Project Stork, mothers like Sarah Bickle were able to navigate their way through a new, and at times intimidating, chapter in her life.
"Well I was managing a daycare when I had my son, and I stopped going to school. So after I had him, I really had to sit down and go am I going to be able to do this, can I do this," Bickle said.
Almost two years later, she credits her support system, including Project Stork, for her success.
"They guided me to be able to go back to school. I go to school full-time and I work full-time, and I think I do amazing at it," Bickle said.
Staebell also visits middle and high schools to discuss pregnancy prevention with students, but she wants any young mom to know they are not alone.
"So it's so important they just keep pushing forward, and know they are able to do this if they have that strong support within their family and community resources as well," Staebell said.
For more information on the services offered by Project Stork Inc. visit their website.