Chicago Child Care Society

Next Step College Readiness

Teen pregnancy can seem like a big obstacle to attending college. But, it doesn’t have to be. CCCS’s Next Step College Readiness Program provides mentoring support for pregnant and parenting teens. Along with Next Step staff, the mentors offer a structured, interactive curriculum to prepare the teen parents for college and future self-sufficiency.

The program is open to both teen moms and teen dads. It begins in the junior year of high school and continues through high school graduation. Participants prepare for high school graduation, college entrance preparation, career planning and ultimately, self-sufficiency. Mentors assist participants with career and college choices, financial aid forms, budgeting, referrals and references, college and scholarship applications, computer skills, college trips and tours.

Mentors include college-educated professionals who are established in their careers, and peer mentors who are teen moms currently in college. Next Step hosts group meetings and activities at the agency and onsite at several Chicago public and alternative high schools.

Volunteer to be a Next Step mentor today! Fill out and submit a mentor application and help make a difference in the life of a teen parent . . . and enrich your life as well.

Program goals:

  • High school graduation
  • Acceptance to college
  • Enrollment in college
  • Delay of subsequent pregnancy

Success Stories

Read about Tara and David’s Next Step success stories.

The Kenneth W. Watson Education Fund Award

The Kenneth W. Watson Education Fund supports annual awards for teen fathers in the CCCS Next Step College Readiness Program. The award was established in memory of Kenneth W. Watson who worked at CCCS for over 30 years as Director of Foster Care and later as Assistant Executive Director. Mr. Watson was an advocate for children and was instrumental in influencing public policy that focused on adoption practices and the needs of children.

Each year, one or more teen fathers active in the Next Step program is awarded a $500 gift from The Kenneth W. Watson Education Fund. The recipient of the award uses the gift to support his own direct educational expenses, including school fees, book purchases, or other direct educational needs.