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Magic in the Community: BETA Center

By Josh Cohen
October 14, 2011

ORLANDO -- Over the last few months, Breonna has noticed extraordinary changes in her life. Not long ago, the 15-year-old was besieged with all kinds of troubles and reservations about her future as a teen mom.

But shortly after moving into the BETA Center in Orlando, the extremely intelligent and goal-oriented mother of a four-month-old baby girl has matured and enhanced her overall attitude.

Instead of constantly quarrelling with authority and her peers – a predicament she frequently combated with prior to moving in – Breonna is excelling in all of her classes at school, spending quality time with friends and even learning new skills such as cooking.

“I am getting straight A’s and I got moved up to honors,” she said.

Sure, it’s still a work in progress, but Breonna along with the others currently staying at the home for impoverished teen mothers are on a path to greater joy and success.

“We have house mothers to teach the girls how to plan their meals, how to budget their money and how to become a better parent,” said Lisa Blackwelder, Director of Development of the Beta Center.

On Friday as part of an initiative to be devoted to the community, staff members of the Orlando Magic helped further augment the BETA Center by paining facility walls, baking cookies and reading stories to the children.

“We are so thankful to be supported by the team for a long time,” Blackwelder said.

As Breonna noted based on her experiences at her former group home, the BETA Center shows enormous care for all of the mothers who are desperate for assistance.

“It’s better here. I like it much better here,” Breonna said. “They actually care about you here. It’s comfortable. It makes you feel like you are at home.”

While the BETA Center will do whatever necessary to assist any insolvent and distressed teen mom, generally the age range for those living at the home are between 14 and 18 years old.

In addition to academics and parenting training, the residents also have access to counseling.

As a result of this guidance, all of the girls get along and help each other at times of need.

“We go grocery shopping together every Tuesday and all of the girls will babysit if someone has something they have to do,” Breonna said. “So we get along real well now.”

Made more convenient because of the BETA Center’s partnership with the Orange County School system, classrooms and all educational apparatus are adjoined to the house.

All in all, with the help from the Magic, the BETA Center remains one of the best places in the world to promote positive parent/child interaction and growth.

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