For 12 weeks, MTV's "Made," a documentary-style reality TV show, followed a then- 17-year-old Rochester mom. She wanted to turn her life around and be "made" into a fit and confident mother. The local people who helped and continue to support the teen mom got together Wednesday to watch their friends national debut.
"I'm so proud of her. I wish she was here tonight, but she's not," said Tamika McClindon, a Teen-Age Parent Support Services group member. McClindon and a dozen of her friends gathered around the TV to watch their newest group member's national debut.
A dad addicted to drugs and an alcoholic mom didn't make life easy for Vanessa Diaz-Hemmerick.
"So, at 17 I moved in with my aunt and uncle in Rochester, NY to get a fresh start. But then, my life got turned upside down," Diaz-Hemmerick told viewers.
Diaz-Hemmerick contacted MTV's "Made" to help her get fit and find a support system.
"So, they reached out to us to bring her into a group. We provide support services and groups to teen moms. We said, 'yes bring her in!'" said Carol Inzinga, Clinical Director for the Society for the Protection and Care of Children (SPCC).
SPCC is a local not-for-profit that also helps teenage parents.
"We're teen mothers who get together every Tuesday. They meet with us, they talk about differerent programs, they help us better ourselves as parents. She [Diaz-Hemmerick] became apart of it and she asked us if we would be her support on the show and we said, 'yes,'" said McClindon.
That group is called TAPSS: Teen-Age Parent Support Services.
"There is a significant amount of teenage parents in this community. The services that are available to do not match the need yet. What I like is this is shining light on the fact that we need more services to help teen parents," Bonnie Allen, TAPSS Supervisor said.
Vanessa Diaz-Hemmerick's dream started with herself. What she didn't know is that she inspired many others.
"Don't give up just because you had a child. You can keep pushing for it. You don't have to give up your goals, your dreams. You can achieve anything if you're strong," McClindon said.