Tamica Hughes

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | March 19th, 2020
Tamica Hughes (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Tamica Hughes (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Transforming the thought process of a teen or pre-teen girl, is at the forefront of Tamica Hughes’ mind. Especially if they’re pregnant or expecting. They’re often broken, confused, and unsure of their future and that of their unborn child. The non-profit organization, Level-Up Parenting, was created in 2019, by Hughes, to tackle the daily struggles these young girls face as they’re preparing for the most important role of their lives.

“Our purpose is to do community outreach, literacy, charitable contributions, and provide educational resources that will help them as a teen parent. That includes an eight-week program teaching them parenting skills, money management, computer literacy and interview preparation, breastfeeding, career and college readiness, self-care and post-partum depression, pregnancy prevention, and how to plan for the future,” Hughes explains.

The Greensboro native knows first-hand how challenging being a teen mom can be, because she was one. As a 16-year-old student at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, NC, she admittedly struggled. Although her mentor, Michelle Graves, was by her side, she didn’t have a particular person to introduce her to the resources that are readily available today. She depended on her mother often but found a small bit of relief when she began working at a day care facility as an after-school teacher at age 17. After graduation, she moved on to cosmetology school while her toddler son attended the Headstart program. Now, she offers a $1,000 scholarship to a student in her program each year that would like to further their education, just as she did. She plans to host a community fundraiser to raise more money for this effort.

“Since I used some of these resources, I’ll be able to link the teens to exactly where they need to go. I’ve also partnered with Nurse Partnership that will administer check-ups in their homes and other things they need,” Hughes says.

If Level Up Parenting sounds like social services, that’s because it is. But while they serve everyone in the community, this organization focuses on moms ages 10 to 19. When the babies arrive, Hughes provides essentials like, pampers, baby clothes, and women’s clothes from Niko’s Closet, an extension of Level Up Parenting. She is always accepting donations and stores the items in a storage facility that she personally pays for. Hughes’ long-term goal is to purchase a location and provide transitional housing to the girls she helps and permanent place to store the donations she receives.

On March 28th, the visionary is planning a community day with speakers and resources as well as an intake process for girls who need assistance. The organization adopted two teen moms this past Christmas and provided needed items for them and plans to do the same annually.

“I help people daily. If they call me, I’ll provide whatever I can or send them somewhere else if I can’t,” says Hughes.

The organizations all-female team of board members helps Hughes make the decisions to move the organization forward as her prayer team helps the teens stay faithful in their beliefs of obtaining a better life for their families.

“I want them to know that just because they’re young mothers doesn’t mean they don’t have opportunities.” She stresses to the girls that having a trade or furthering their education is key to being successful in the future.

Hughes is currently searching for volunteers to mentor the young ladies that will participate in Level Up Parenting’s upcoming 8-week session. “They may be spending time with the girls, sitting and talking to them, and possibly purchasing a few items that they need.” She’ll soon offer internships to college students majoring in a social science as well.

Considering Hughes was a teen mom, she shed the statistic early on, that most would become victim to. She utilized many of the programs offered and created a new legacy for herself and her children. Though they’re not involved in the Level Up Parenting, her two sons and husband Christopher are her biggest supporters. Early on she saw that young women on the southside of Greensboro needed help and decided to make a change. One day she plans to serve the entire city, but for now, she’s starting small, but making a huge impact.

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