by Sarah Mouradian
While we may be young adults, most of us honestly still feel like kids. We’re just barely starting to figure out this world on our own. For the first time in our lives, we’re experiencing daunting responsibilities like paying rent, bills, and taxes. Some of us can just barely take care of our selves. How could any one of us reasonably expect to successfully bring another life into this world? The thought is terrifying!
Even worse would be to feel completely alone facing parenthood in a sea of 66,000 students who seem to have their lives together. While it may be true that most college students aren’t concerned with becoming parents at this stage in life— pregnancy and parenthood can occur unexpectedly. The wonderful news is that there are abundant resources available for women who may be facing pregnancy or early parenthood. You are not alone in this!
Below you will find a few resources that include counseling and services such as childcare and tuition assistance. Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list.
Counseling, & Planning Assistance
The Pregnancy Center: Locations: Oviedo and Sanford
The Pregnancy Center provides free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds performed by licensed technicians, and comprehensive options counseling. They also provide referral services for emergency assistance, employment listings, Medicaid, post-abortion counseling, post-adoption support, safe houses and emergency shelter, as well as many other referral services. A key feature of The Pregnancy Center is their “Earn While You Learn” program for first-time mothers to earn reward points that can be used for supplies and material goods while going through the free education and counseling lessons provided by the center.
JMJ Pregnancy Center: Locations: Orlando, Kissimmee, and St. Cloud
Similar to The Pregnancy Center, the JMJ Pregnancy Center offers free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds performed by licensed technicians, and comprehensive options counseling. They also provide their free “Lifting Lives Program,” which includes material resources, referral services, and individual and group classes.
UCF Creative School for Children: Location: University of Central Florida
Priority enrollment is given to UCF students taking a minimum of 6 undergraduate credit hours or 3 graduate credit hours. Children ages from 6 weeks to 5 years old are accepted, including VPK. Unfortunately, childcare is not free. However, it is as low-cost as possible, and there are many options for working around class schedules.
LifeHope Childcare Center: Location: Northwood Church in Longwood
The program is available for single parents with children ages 6 weeks to 18 months old. If eligibility requirements are met, parents will additionally receive case management for guidance on resources and education for sustainability outside of the program.
- Amount of scholarship: $1,000
- Offered once per semester. Further requirements can be found following the provided link.
A variety of scholarships and grants are awarded to nearly 1,500 women internationally who face a variety of obstacles. Applicants must be the primary financial provider for their family as well as currently enrolled in a vocational or undergraduate program and be in financial need.
- Reward: Up $5,000 to five recipients each year
- Awards are to assist low-income mothers who are pursuing post-secondary education.
These resources only scratch the surface of what is available to pregnant and parenting students at UCF. While the majority of students may not face these situations, spreading awareness of where support can be found only strengthens our community as Knights and residents in the Orlando area. Bookmark this page. Save the links. Write the information down and keep it in your wallet. You never know who you might encounter that will need these resources.
If you are a pregnant or parenting student reading this remember that you are not alone! There are so many people willing and waiting to assist you. If you are afraid to turn to your family and friends, I suggest reaching out to many of the faith-based organizations on campus. The Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM), for instance, has a pro-life committee that would be eager to help in any way possible (email: firstname.lastname@example.org / 407-392-0824). You are strong, brave, and capable of anything you set out to accomplish, so do not be afraid!
More resources can be found here: https://pregnantoncampus.studentsforlife.org/campus/ucf/