Tara Siano is deeply committed to helping teenage mothers obtain support from their local community. Through her work in Young Life, she began aiding teenage mothers and mentoring high school students in nearby Hershey, Pennsylvania. The last two summers she has worked at a camp run by Young Life in Lake Champion, NY where she taught teenage mothers and their young children who came from urban neighborhoods and rural communities, from multiple countries, and spanned various faith traditions. Tara taught and cared for the children and built relationships with their mothers. One powerful example of her motivation is that after befriending a number of Puerto Rican mothers and their children, she began learning Spanish in order to help them more effectively. She deepened her understanding of the economic and social challenges teenage mothers face in their communities and also the steps that are needed to address these challenges. Isolation and powerlessness often overwhelm these young women. In reaction, Tara has begun implementing community building approaches to help address the isolation that many teenage mothers experience. She sees that community-based solutions are needed to help ensure that young women can more fully participate in all facets of public life.
I am a communications student at Elizabethtown College who aims to make a difference in the lives of high school girls and teen moms by using my knowledge of mass media and my leadership abilities. I am a mentor for Young Life, a non-denominational outreach program that introduces the gospel to high school students. In Young Life, leaders are encouraged to build relationships with their mentees to earn the right to be heard. It requires charisma and especially developed social skills, as well as a lot of patience when talking to teenagers. Through Young Life, I also work with a program called YoungLives. This group reaches out to teen moms to give them parenting advice, the good news of the gospel, and some fun. I work in childcare when I can, using my talents with children to take care of difficult toddlers from impoverished areas so their moms can learn from their own mentors. My experience working with teen moms has affected me greatly, and much of my work in communications revolves around sharing their untold stories.