In five seasons of Dayton Youth Radio, we've never done a story about teenage parents. Today we're going to hear from Daeon, a junior at the Dayton Early College Academy. Daeon interviewed his classmate and close friend Keyshawn, who's 17. Keyshawn and his girlfriend are about to have a baby in just a few weeks.
My name is Daeon Mukes, and I'm 17 years old. I don't have a girlfriend yet, but sometimes I wish I did and you know, so many of my friends have girlfriends. Relationships are common during this time with teens. My parents already told me if I had a child, I'm going to be punished, "Stay protected and wear a condom when you have sex."
My friends and I have seen teen girls that came to school with baby bumbs, and we're like, Yo, it's crazy that she's having a baby on the way. It's too early for you to have a baby. Your life is ruined now. You can't go to college.
In my opinion, if you're ready to have a child, then you're just ready. I don't judge when teenagers are having a child or not. If they are one of my friends, then they have all my support.
I asked my friend Keyshawn, who's 17 and a junior in high school, how he felt when he first heard he was having a child.
It felt like it wasn't real. To put it into perspective, it felt like I made a mistake and I didn't know what I was gonna do," says Keyshawn. "People may think that my mom or my dad would have went crazy and started like crying and all that, but my mom eventually got used to the fact that her son has a baby on the way and she has to support me in every single step."
Teen pregnancy usually can affect lives and future. I asked Keyshawn if he had a plan for what he'll do after high school.
"I am going to be attending college," he says. "I'm not going to waste my abilities or education, and I don't want to waste anything. I really want to push for my education because I'm a dream chaser."
Keyshawn says he thinks the hardest part of being a father will be, "Consistency in giving love every single day to my child. Now people would think that the hardest thing would be bringing in money to make sure that your baby has this and that, but no. For me it's the consistency of love every single day and not coming to my child in anger or fear. My worst fear is not being there. My worst fear is having my son wake up one day and his dad is not in his life because you know some of these kids out here, they don't have fathers in their lives."
I asked Keyshawn if he had any regrets.
"Where I'm at right now, my mindset is that this is a blessing. I love God for this blessing," he says. "But being too young isn't really the problem. It's just my family I'm supposed to be the one who is going to make it out of this situation. I'm supposed to be the one who's gonna make it out of Dayton, and but now I have to get me and my family out of Dayton, which is going to be ten times the work. But I do accept this challenge that God is putting onto me and I will have to conquer it to be the successful person that I am."
I learned a lot throughout this story. I want adults to know that teen pregnancy is something you shouldn't look down upon. They should just look at them like they're young adults. For anyone that has a child as a teen, I hope the best for them, but my advice for teens to use protection because it's too early and it'll be difficult to manage later on life.
Daeon Mukes is a student at the Dayton Early College Academy. To learn more about DECA, visit the school's website: http://daytonearlycollege.org/ Special thanks to Anne Rasmussen, Director of Community Involvement at DECA. Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.