Yasmine Sina didn't ever think she would be a role model for other young mums.
At the age of 17, not in school and kicked out of home, she found herself facing life as a single teenage mum raising her daughter Melody-Rose.
Fast forward two years and the 19-year-old is gearing up to complete her NCEA Level 2 and 3, is a trained parenting facilitator and has dreams of going to university.
She believes this turnaround has been possible thanks to the support she has received from Youth Service West.
"I used to wag school a lot, I didn't really care about my future. I didn't get much support from my family and I spent a lot of time drinking," she says.
"Not many people gave me a chance.
"But now people support me and you feel safe."
Youth Service West is part of Youth Horizons, a non-profit organisation that works with young at-risk people. It supports those who aren't living at home, have children and those who aren't in education or employment.
It does this by providing practical help through budgeting and parenting courses, coaching, accommodation and also providing financial assistance.
The Te Atatu South resident is now in her final year at the teen parent unit at Henderson High School, He Wero, focusing on getting her university entrance. Here she is also supported by staff from Youth Horizons including personal advisor Sandra Davies.
"We are more of a holistic service. It's about providing what works for them, what do they need to be successful," Davies says.
Sina has made her way through a number of courses, got her drivers license, and she also spent six months living at the Youth Horizons Teen Parent Home, Te Kainga, when Melody was born.
These opportunities have enabled her to work towards her goal of studying sport and recreation and ultimately becoming a teacher.
"I'm not just a teen mum. I'm more than that, I'm good at different things," she says.
CIARA PRATT - Western Leader