Aunt Mary's House And The Place Partner To Offer Teen Mom Support Group
Published: February 10th, 2023
By: Sarah Genter

Aunt Mary's House and The Place partner to offer Teen Mom Support Group Aunt Mary's House Director Brenda White and The Place Teen Program Coordinator Julie Dealing with baby and child care supplies stored at The Place. The organizations have partnered to provide a free Teen Mom Support Group, which will give teen moms in Chenango County a safe space to connect with their peers and community resources. Currently the group meets from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays. (Photo by Sarah Genter)

NORWICH — Aunt Mary's House, a nonprofit group under the umbrella of Improve Norwich Now that will provide temporary housing and support to pregnant and parenting mothers, and The Place, a Norwich-based organization that provides care and programming for children and teens, have partnered to facilitate a Teen Mom Support Group for pregnant or parenting Chenango County teens 19 years old or younger.

Currently, the group meets every Saturday from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at The Place, located at 22 East Main Street in Norwich, although The Place Teen Program Coordinator Julie Dealing said they are open to changing the meeting times to fit participants' schedules if need be.

"When we initially came up with that we figured teen moms, they’re probably in school still. They potentially have jobs after school or different things they need to go to. So we thought maybe Saturday morning would be good," Dealing explained. "This is what they need it to be. So if collectively they come tog and they’re like, 'this time really doesn’t work for us, can we do it this time?' We can definitely be flexible and change that."

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Their flexibility is part of the group's aim to tailor the meetings to what participants need. Dealing said they want to provide a safe space for local teen moms to talk with others in similar situations, as well as connect them to resources in the community.

"I originally envisioned that support circle kind of situation ... Potentially bringing in resources from the community like WIC, Chenango PACT, things like that, to present different kinds of things," she said. "But ultimately if it just needs to be a safe space where the teens can connect with other people who are going through similar situations to not feel alone, and they just need to talk about life, then that’s fine too."

"We don’t want it to be educational or a classroom for them, but we want them to get what they need out of it," added Aunt Mary's House (AMH) Director Brenda White. "Do they just need to talk? Do they just need an hour away from their child, because we’ll have child care there? Do they need to be in a space that’s quiet and they can talk if they want to? Or do they want us to bring in these resources for them in the community that we can bring in?"

Attendees at the weekly meetings will be provided with a free light breakfast, and child care will be provided by The Place so moms can take a break, socialize, and learn.

Dealing said the provided child care not only benefits moms by giving them a chance to socialize with others, but also benefits their children.

"It’s beneficial for them, because they’ll be socializing with their peers, but also it’s an opportunity for their little ones to also be able to socialize and have some of that time. Because it’s just as important for little kids to have friends and socialize as it is for anybody else," she explained.

Attendees of the Teen Mom Support Group will also have occasional opportunities to take home clothes and care items for their baby or child, as well as post-natal care items for themselves. The Place keeps a stock of diapers, pull ups, baby clothes and shoes, books, bottles, teethers, baby soap, and more.

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Plus, White said if there is something the moms need that they can't provide, they will work with them to find organizations and resources in the community that can help.

"If there’s something that they need that we don’t have, we’ll be able to find it for them and also teach them how to find those things for themselves," she said. "The same thing that we’re doing at Aunt Mary’s House, we’ll teach them how to find resources in the community, if they don’t already know, and empower them to use that knowledge."

To participate in the Teen Mom Support Group, individuals must register for that week's meeting by noon on Friday. Moms can contact Dealing at 607-336-9696 ext. 109 or via email at Dealing also has an online registration form that can be requested via email, or accessed by scanning the QR code on Teen Mom Support Group fliers.

Dealing also created a community questionnaire, which would provide valuable feedback on what resources are being utilized by teen moms in the area and what is still needed, so she and White can further tailor the groups to the specific needs of teen moms in the county.

Teen moms are encouraged to complete the anonymous questionnaire, and can request the link by emailing Dealing at

Additionally, White has met with local schools, women's health, Opportunities for Chenango, WIC, the Department of Health, and other major locations in the county to learn more about teen pregnancy in the area and spread the word about the support group. Although exact statistics are not available, she said they know teen pregnancy is prevalent in Chenango County.

"It is one of those circumstances where, these young women, it’s their privacy, and the schools have to check with the women and the parents, or the counselors, whoever it is have to check with the women and the parents before they can give us any information," said White. "So the talk is that it’s out there, but the reality we don’t know because we just don’t have that information yet."

In the future, Dealing hopes to expand the group by bringing in guest speakers as well. She said several former teen moms have reached out to her already about meeting with the group and showing its members that they can still accomplish their goals, and that there is support out there for them.

"If your family isn’t supporting you and they’re telling you your life is over and all this stuff, you’ll believe it," said Dealing. "So if you’re able to come into a room full of your peers that are in the same situation, and then have older adults, they’ll be adults at that point, come in and say, ‘you can do this. Your life is not over. Look at all these opportunities that you can do.’ I think that would be really good for you."

For more information on the Teen Mom Support Group or The Place and their programs, visit or The Place Facebook page. More information on Aunt Mary's House can be found on the Aunt Mary's House Facebook page.