Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, August 23 2013 at 3:04 PM, Updated: Fri, August 23 2013 at 3:16 PM
Graduating high school isn't easy...and it's even tougher for students who also happen to be parents.
However, there are some programs in Klamath Falls that are helping teen parents, and their babies...
Even though he's not quite two, Elijah is heading to Mazama High School this fall.
Klamath Falls City School's Teen Parent Program Coordinator Trudy Willhite notes that Elijah is one of nearly 80 toddlers in Klamath Falls with a parent in high school...
"In the city I had 38 last year, and the county, I think, was around 40."
Elijah's mom Emily Daniels is a student parent getting help from the 'Viking Babies' program at Mazama High School...
"It's very helpful to all the parents. Because if we didn't have a place for the babies to go during the school day, we wouldn't be going to school at all."
Emily and other parents are now getting some extra help through 'Basin Youth For Christ's Teen Parents', which formed last February.
Program Director Krissy Hess explains...
"The basic objective is to put teen parents with loving adults, who are there to support them in a mentorship capacity."
Emily Daniels notes that the teen parents also provide support for each other...
"It's nice to be able to interact with the other teen parents, and you can grow a good relationship with them. And they understand you a lot more than the other teenagers do."
Trudy Willhite says it's hard to say if Emily, or Elijah will benefit more...
"I think by supporting the parents, getting them educated, and through high school, then they can go on to college, and they can provide a better life for their child."
The Basin Youth For Christ's Teen Parent program is looking for volunteers, and donations. You can contact Krissy Hess at: (541) 892-1924 for more information on how you can help.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.