As one of our most dedicated volunteers who also serves on our Leadership Committee, Tricia strongly believes that the rate of teen pregnancies should not be rising yet the way they are in Berks County and Reading. “Berks County has higher rates than both Pennsylvania and the nation, by a lot. The Co-County Wellness Center received a grant to study birth rates in Reading and Berks County, and this is what we found a few years ago. I was shocked to learn this,” she explains.

During her Senior year at Reading High, one of Tricia’s friends got pregnant and gave birth only weeks before graduation. Tricia recalls how “she was one of the lucky ones.” Tricia explains how, although she graduated, it was a rough road for her.  “She dealt with humiliation, embarrassment, parents who kicked her out of the house, a boyfriend who basically deserted her, as well as health concerns with few adults to turn to. She was a single parent for many years who made it on her own and raised great kids, but her path was beyond challenging.”

Tricia believes that no one should have to travel the path of raising a child alone – especially at such a young age. For this reason, she talked to her kids about preventing pregnancy and STD’s to keep them from walking down that same path.

“Youth must have the opportunity to learn about healthy mind, healthy bodies and healthy relationships,” says Tricia. “Kids want to ask parents questions, but not all parents are comfortable talking about it.  Not all students have positive role models.  Funding has reduced or eliminated many health classes that once provided valuable information to our students.  Berks Teens Matter addresses these issues and gives students and parents a place to get answers to their many questions.  The youth of our nation will soon be running our nation. They are our future. We need to give them at least as much of a fighting chance as we got.”

Tricia Ludgate, Member of Berks Teens Matter Leadership Committee and advocate for teens

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