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Lisa Rignell and Shea Hardy

When Shea Hardy first met Lisa Rignell at a meeting of the Birth Companions Network last September, she learned that Rignell was coaching pregnant teens as a volunteer in Willamette High's teen parent program. An Elmira native and a 20-year employee at PSC, Rignell had experience helping with a dozen births in her own family. "I also wanted to do service work with kids," says Hardy. A South Eugene grad, she had recently returned after seven years of travel as a nanny. "We met and it just clicked," says Rignell. "I was the only one doing this work. Shea got the bright idea to expand it to other places." At the next BCN meeting, the pair recruited six more doulas (birth helpers) as volunteers. Their new project, Doulas Supporting Teens, has become an element of teen parent programs at Springfield High, Looking Glass, and the Opportunity Center, as well as Willamette. "We educate them on the birth process, nutrition, and breast feeding," says Rignell. "A big thing is birth control afterwards. None of our girls has gotten pregnant again." DST volunteers are currently coaching 14 pregnant teens. Five others gave birth last month.


happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 8 April 2004

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