GRADS program eligible for more cash

GRADS program eligible for more cash »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. - Our region has some of the most teen moms in the state.

This is why tens of millions is going to support these young mothers and fathers to set them on the right path.

In this classroom teens with children or who are expecting them get the extra help they need. It's home economics with a side of parenting.

Teen mom Mikayla Caldwell said, "We watched him take his first breath and he changed color.

The baby's father Gage Sullivan said,"Yeah it was really cool to see."

Mikayla Caldwell and Gage Sullivan decided to take the class together. Not many young men take the class. They learn to sew instead of playing sports. They are taught to cook and iron instead of woodshop.

Gage said, "There's a lot of guys that just bail. I don't know. My oldest brother did that and I didn't want to be like that guy."

For Gage and Mikayla being good parents to their toddler, Briceson, was the first step in securing a good future. This program is meant to do just that.

The state is offering $60 million more in grant funding over the next few years.

Most of the money is staying in four counties with the highest teen pregnancy rates Franklin County being one. Tri-Tech is eligible to receive that money. The grant is vital to keep this program up and running.

Gage said, "I leave for training in June right after I graduate.

Gage is enlisting in the military, an option he might not have considered if it weren't this program.

A big plus, on-site child care. Teens can focus on their studies knowing their kids are safe. When their babies need them, they can be there.

Denise Mileson, program director, "There's always hope and there's always a future and I get the best kids who want to be in school and I get the kids who want to learn to be good parents."

After 29 years program coordinator Denise Mileson still thinks she has the best job in the world helping kids become the parents they want to be.

The program also helps teen register for state assistance programs like WIC.