Submitted by Natalie Hermann, Terra alumna

I found out I was pregnant at 15. Being pregnant at such a young age was a terrifying experience, but I was lucky enough to have the support of my family and friends. Still, looks from older people and comments like, “you will never do anything with your life” and “you will never be able to provide for your child” were discouraging and difficult to handle, especially at my age.

I graduated from Braemar School in June 2011, and received support from Terra Centre from 2009–11. My experiences with Braemar School and Terra are extremely positive and will have lasting effects on both my son and me. If it had not been for the on site daycare at school and the daycare staff who took amazing care of my son I would not have graduated. I was experiencing so many new things raising a baby at 16 and they provided me with so much helpful advice and support as Noah got older.

I volunteered as a student ambassador after Noah was born and I attended several events on behalf of Terra such as a United Way lunch, Peers Educating Peers sessions at various schools around Edmonton, Terra’s Promising Futures breakfast, as well as public speaking at a Rotary Club meeting and a Terra meeting. Through the student Ambassador program I was able to attend a public speaking seminar and various other events that have helped me in my university career and everyday life. As I went through the Ambassador program as well as my schooling at Braemar, I felt that my confidence as a mom and a person improved greatly.

I am now 23 and Noah is seven. He loves school and enjoys sports such as swimming, ball hockey and basketball. He is the happiest, funniest and sassiest kid I have ever met. He loves to build Lego and read and he’s crazy about anything involving Star Wars. Noah is also one of the Oilers’ biggest fans. He wears his jersey on game days even when not attending the actual game and his favourite player is Connor McDavid.

Noah has been a huge motivator for me to do something with my life and provide opportunities for him. The people that have discouraged me in the past have also motivated me to get where I am today. I am very proud to say that I am currently in my first year of law school at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. I feel that pursuing this level of education will give us a future that no one thought we could have. I am also hoping to set an example for Noah that no matter what your life circumstance, if you work hard you can be successful.

I am hoping once I am done my law degree to be able to give back to the community, including Terra. Its work makes a huge difference in the lives of the moms, dads and their children.

I cannot express how huge of an impact the staff have had on our lives. I am so thankful that there is a program like it in Edmonton and I hope that others recognize the value in it when they see parents and their children becoming successful later in life.