» By Candice Snow, Guest Writer

The stress of classes, extracurricular activities, and social life can feel overwhelming at times.

But for the silent population of young parents on campus, school can be a heavy burden added to an already full schedule.

In an effort to give support and resources to young college students with children, APSU has founded the Govs Young Parent Program. “It is a program for a population of students among us that we may not often see,” said Coordinator of Adult and Nontraditional Student Center Martha Harper. “Students who are parents, but they look traditional age, so we don’t think of them as having those extra pressures.”

The Govs Young Parent Program is open to APSU parents under the age of 25. It meets three times per semester and offers a wide variety of resources to help develop those involved as both students and parents.

It is a safe zone where parents can connect with other young parents, learn about the importance of bonding with their children, focus on the positives of parenting and receive valuable education and life advice from experienced APSU parents who have maintained at least a   3.0 GPA.

“The most important benefit is to recognize that you’re not alone on campus,” Harper said. “You may think you’re the only one struggling with this sort of dual life, but there are others out there who are just not the majority of the population, so you don’t see them as well. It takes away the feeling of isolation.”

In an effort to stand out from the established Nontraditional Student Society —that already attends to some of the needs of student parents — the Govs Young Parent Program remains flexible and readily welcomes feedback from its members.

The first official meeting had a turnout of young parents, mentor parents and children. The meeting included informative guest speakers, group icebreakers and playtime with the children.

“We are very much evolving until we figure out what the students need,”   Harper said.

Although the program is currently only open for APSU students, coordinators are flexible with regards to non-student spouses.

If you are an APSU student and parent under the age of 25 or if you would like to become a Govs Young Parent Advisor, you can contact Martha Harper at: harperm@apsu.edu or call at: (931) 221-6855. The next meeting will take place on a Saturday in October. Childcare will be provided. TAS