Everyday Champion: Wanda Spann Roddy

This story is a part of our Everyday Champions series. Helping youth succeed takes commitment and action from our whole community. Everyday Champions are people who are committed and who act in small and big ways to support youth in central Indiana. Do you know someone who you think would make a great Champion for Youth? Click here to get started.

While the community has focused on reducing teen pregnancy, the fact remains that many teens in our community do get pregnant. Future Promises educates and advocates for pregnant and parenting teens, improving their health and life outcomes.

What is your profession or vocation? By education, I am a pediatric/adolescent nurse practitioner. After many years being a nurse, then becoming a nurse practitioner, I have had the great opportunity to take the knowledge and experience and my love for adolescent reproductive health to develop a comprehensive program for pregnant and parenting teens called “Future Promises – A Program for pregnant and parenting teens”.

How are you an Everyday Champion for Youth?
While teen pregnancy prevention advocates continue to place much needed attention on reducing teen pregnancy and teen birth rates, little emphasis has been placed on providing services for teens that are already pregnant and/or who have become parents. In an effort to address this gap, everyday I work hard at improving services, educating and advocating for the special needs of pregnant and parenting teens in order to improve their health and life outcomes and those of their children.

What impact do you hope to make on youth?

I hope that the work that I do, the young lives that I touch – even just everyday – demonstrates to youth that there are adults in this world that sees a promising future for them and will advocate and support them, either directly or indirectly, as they work to reach their dreams and their goals.

What’s the one thing that you wish an adult had told you when you were a young person? As I recall, when I was younger, I surrounded myself with positive people that gave me a lot of good advise and support. So I don’t know of any one thing that I wished an adult had told me. However, the two things that was said to me that I have never forgotten and continues to nudge me are

  • An 8th grade English teacher said – “You will never be good in English – not like your sister”
  • The Nursing School Dean told me that “… maybe you should change your major because you aren’t going to make it through nursing school or be a good nurse”.
  • It’s a good thing that I didn’t take to heart either of those negative comments –thanks to the supportive people around me and my courage and determination to prove them wrong. I frequently write long papers – mostly grants and make many public presentations with excellent feedback. I successfully graduated from nursing school, became a great nurse, received a graduate nursing degree with honors and have won awards for the work that I do. But yet those comments still haunt me 30 to 35 years later. Adults never know the impact of what they say to young people – so it should always be positive and show support.

    What do you want to do next to support youth?

    As I prepare for my next phase of life – retirement – I hope to spend these next few years preparing myself to be able to train others on developing youth programs that work. I have learned a lot over the past 30 years on youth development and program development. I have had lots of success developing a wide range of youth programs, particularly the “Future Promises Program” and I want to give young professionals who desire to work with youth, the skills and training that I have acquired that has made a difference in the lives of youth.

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