Thanks to Kirbi Range and Deanna Hallagan from Project Hope, we get to spread some awareness on what it means to be a pregnant teen and how Project Hope has been working to empower these mothers for over 30 years.

Before starting Project Hope, after the 60’s riots, Kay Hallagan began volunteering with Marillac and started a bus service called Mothers to Mothers. This was necessary since the food deserts and lack of transportation were barriers for the mothers to have access to a healthy selection of foods, which is something we still see in present day Chicago. After running this service, Kay was encouraged to go back to school and receive a Masters degree in social work at the Jane Adams School of Social Work at UIC. Since then she was offered a position as the head of the family services. As a mother of 12 she could easily empathize with the mothers in need, in turn she started Project Hope.

Project Hope serves women around the ages of 12-19 and on a smaller scale, women from 20-25. These women receive two home visits a month and learn about healthy parent child attachment, developmental milestones, and more. They also get to participate in parenting and prenatal classes.

“We’re helping them navigate through life as well as being good parents to their child and set goals for themselves and help them understand that life is not over because they became a parent at a young age.”

Thanks to the doula service at Project Hope, more women are prepared for their birth and less C-sections are had.

From the pregnant teen who didn’t get to go away to college but later got her Masters degree and became a principal, to the teen who is now a professional make up artist for the cast of Empire, Project Hope has helped to empower these women and let them know that they are not alone.

“A lot of times people think somehow these are lesser children but they’re not and they’re not lesser mothers either.” These mothers have the power to do anything.



Check out Project Hope here and find ways you can help out. Remember to respect all mothers and stay aware of marginalized communities that don’t always have easy access to the care they need. But don’t stop at awareness, do something.