Michelle Cobbe has been busy with the hustle and bustle of a new school year; getting to know new students, checking in with returning ones and planning classroom activities. However, contrary to what you might think Cobbe is not a teacher.
Cobbe is the program director of the Teenage Education and Motherhood (TEAM) program. She has been with the program for the past 10 years, first serving as the YWCA social worker and then moving into the role as the Jamestown Public School counselor and TEAM program director in 2012.
TEAM has a longstanding history in our community, in its current form the program is a collaboration between Jamestown Public Schools, Jamestown YWCA and Jamestown Community Learning Council. The program provides education, counseling and supportive services for pregnant teens, teen mothers and their children.
As the director Cobbe is charged with overseeing the operations of the collaborative program that includes academic education, parenting education and supports needed to navigate the unique needs of parenting teens.
Nationally 50 percent of teen moms will drop out of school and never graduate. The TEAM program institutes many robust goals to ensure the success of their students and children. Their current 10-year average graduation rate is 92 percent.
“Our goal is to have every student graduate and be able to go onto college or the workforce,” stated Cobbe.
TEAM’s focus on laying an academic foundation for their student’s future is met with an equally important goal of providing parenting education. Students learn and are empowered to be their child’s best teacher, positive parent and caregiver. The program is designed to provide a family like environment to support students and help them in any area of their lives needed.
“TEAM always has the potential to be a surrogate family to our students,” explained Cobbe. “The most rewarding part of my job is when a student really embraces and appreciates that we care for them and their children. Building those relationships allows us to help support students to achieve their academic goals while also creating a positive life and future.”
Entering each year TEAM must be nimble to the changing needs of students and their children, resources of partner agencies and evolving community issues. Under Cobbe’s guidance partner agencies along with many supportive community organizations all come together and are invested in nurturing and supporting the success of each student.
For 40 years, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation has worked together with its inspiring donors, selfless volunteers and grateful community organizations to share their stories for enriching the quality of life for all who live here.