January 24, 2023
Joyful event shows the love to pregnant and parenting students
Resource fair provided giveaways, guidance and camaraderie
On a brisk Saturday morning in mid-December, the doors to Excel Academy opened wide. Curious students entered and were met with smiling faces and caring community members. They were met with music, delicious food, and tables of resources.
Most important, they were met with love.
City Schools’ first ever Pregnant and Parenting Student Resource Fair fulfilled a deep and ongoing need, according to fair organizer Dr. Rinata Tanks, City Schools’ Reengagement Center Coordinator. “We found that a lot of our pregnant and parenting students were unable to attend school,” she explained. “The fair re-engaged these students with schooling and our community while letting them know they aren’t alone. We care, and we want them to be successful. No matter their circumstances, we’re here to help.”
And students felt the love. Their reactions included:
- “I felt special, excited, and pampered!”
- “I feel appreciated, I’m so grateful.”
- “It’s so comforting to be around other parenting students!”
“Anything you could imagine a young child or a new parent needing, it was there and available for them,” said Dr. Tanks. Students spent the day getting expert guidance, connecting with classmates, and visiting with exhibitors like Sharebaby and B'more for Healthy Babies, as well as helpful agencies like the Baltimore Health Department and City Schools representatives from Judy Centers and Home & Hospital. They left with a packed bag of giveaways, including diapers, wipes, body wash, clothes, and bath items - and the knowledge that they have support in their peers, in their communities, and in City Schools.
Students who may otherwise feel separated from their peers were able to share common experiences. And they saw, as Dr. Tanks noted, that City Schools knows “these students want to succeed and want to come back. We’re helping them do that.”
The fair was coordinated by the City Schools Re-engagement Center, which is located at district headquarters on North Ave. The center works with students who have disengaged from schooling on ways to return to school, finish their degrees, and access resources to help them reach their goals. Over the last six years, the Re-engagement Center has served more than 3,800 students. Learn more here.