Hopeful Beginnings brings new beginnings


(Left to Right) Joanne Bratta (Executive Director), Meagan Kasper (Public Relations Assistant), and Jennifer Vergara (Outreach Coordinator)—- all work at Hopeful Beginnings

By Grace Berry
Executive News Editor 
Joanne Bratta is the Executive Director of Hopeful Beginnings. Hopeful Beginnings is an organization located in Arlington Heights dedicated to helping women with unplanned pregnancies.
She was a nurse at Rolling Meadows High School for 22 years and made and ran the program to help students with unplanned pregnancies across the district. She retired early to work with Hopeful Beginnings and then was still asked to run her program in District 214 as a part time job.
Bratta was then named Executive Director of Hopeful Beginnings and could no longer run the program with District 214 and the program fell. Soon District 214 needed a new program to help students with unplanned pregnancies.
This year District 214 has contracted with Bratta’s program Hopeful Beginnings to help students.
In District 214 there are 130 students this year with unplanned pregnancies with three at Prospect.
The District acknowledges the fact that there are so many different students with different problems including drug abuse and teen pregnancy explained Bratta.
She is happy that the Board of Education and all the schools stand behind her to help students,.
“District 214 is so much more special than so many other districts because [other districts] don’t recognize [that teen pregnancy is happening], Bratta said.
In this program Hopeful Beginnings helps students with unplanned pregnancies step-by-step.
Someone from the center will come to the school and immediately start working with the student and go through the pros and cons on their options with their pregnancy. Whether it be keeping the baby, adoption, or other alternatives.
“What makes us special is we look and you and really see where it is you want to go, it’s talked out and we’re there for you through delivery [of the baby] and after,” Bratta said. “We don’t drop you like a hot potato [like other programs].”
At Hopeful Beginnings there are many other services provided for teens with unplanned pregnancies. Hopeful Beginnings helps girls get prenatal care and health care. They also have teen pregnancy program that includes prenatal classes and parenting classes that students get credit for because Bratta was a high school teacher.
“What we want to do is to teach kids because [teen pregnancy] happens it’s not the end of the world,” Bratta said.
Bratta explained the main goal of the program is for the girls to be a good moms and to graduate from high school. Then she wants the girls to go to college to pursue their dreams. She explained many girls from her program are now teachers or nurses.
“I could jump off a building I’m so excited [for this new program with District 214],” Bratta said.
“Because [this program] is going to work and we have people that are passionate [about helping these kids].”