A 21-year-old from South Devon, who has faced years of verbal abuse on the street for being a young mum, has launched a new campaign.
Lauryn Breslan, from Newton Abbot, is keen to tackle misconceptions of young parents but also to urge teens to wait before starting a family.
So Lauryn is working with Fixers – a charity that supports young people aged 16-25 to tackle any issue that matters to them, however they choose – to get her message across.
A report about her Fixers campaign will feature on ITV News West Country on Thursday, July 3 from 6pm.
With the support of Fixers, Lauryn – who actually challenges every common assumption made about young mums - is delivering workshops in schools to help students understand the harsh realities of teen parenthood.
“I regularly get things shouted at me in the street,” said Lauryn, who is mum to Skyla, three, and Finley, eight months. “People stop me to tell me their opinion on my life or they give me dirty looks and stare at me. They assume that your children don’t have the same dad and that you’re living in a council flat.”
Lauryn wants people to realise that not every young mum is living off the state.
She is engaged to her partner Dan Smith, the father of both her children, who works full-time to support their family.
They rent a private property and don’t claim any benefits, apart from those due to parents with young children.
And even though Lauryn had her daughter Skyla when she was 17, she went on to sit her A-levels and achieved a diploma in beauty.
“Being a teen parent worked out well for me luckily, but ideally I would have waited for at least ten years before having children,” she said.
Lauryn, who is also coping with M.E. and Fibromyalgia, hopes her Fixers campaign will help teenagers to realise that babies are a huge responsibility.
“I want young people to realise that teenage pregnancy is not just about having a cute baby that you can dress up and parade around. I want them to understand that it will change their lives forever.”
Lauryn’s partner Dan, 23, added: “Young parents do get a hard time. You get people walking past muttering under their breath. It’s quite upsetting and distressing but we try as hard as we can. Having children young involves a lot of growing up and responsibility, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Fixers works with young people across the UK. Each Fixer is supported by the charity’s team of in-house team of creative professionals to produce a resource to get their chosen message across. Many young people choose to create a short film, website, poster campaign, information leaflet, or hold an event or flashmob.
Fixers has already supported around 13,000 young people across the UK to have an authentic voice in their community.
Young people have campaigned on issues with Fixers as diverse as cyber-bullying, self-harm, suicide and the need for more random acts of kindness.
Fixers aims to work with over 70,000 young people aged 16 to 25 by 2020 to help them to take action and tackle the issues they feel strongly about.