Pageant empowers young mothers

- Julieta Montelongo is 18 and a new mom and thanks to a Bay Area program, she's getting the royal treatment.

The pageant is part of Woman to Woman, a drop-out prevention program for teen moms.

FOX 13 News caught up with Julieta and 17-year-old Antoinette Brown while they selected a dress for the Woman to Woman pageant.

"I think its cool. I think it's amazing. It's kind of like dress up," Montelongo said.

"We get an opportunity to wear dresses and look pretty," said Brown.

Linda Stverak says the Woman to Woman pageant teaches young mothers to feel empowered for their futures.

"It helps them know who they truly are plus a little bit of competition for them to be able to succeed," Stverak said.

Eckerd Connects provided the dresses after receiving a surplus of donations during prom season.

"We thought we were only going to get 80 dresses. We got 800," said Laura Reynolds of Eckerd Connects. 

While the moms look beautiful on the outside, they said the biggest reward from this is how they feel inside.

"When you're a teen mom, no one really cares about you, you know? You're just another mess up. There are times when you might feel low, and dressing up, putting a dress on, kind of builds us up a little," said Montelongo.

"I just feel like they are giving me an opportunity and they're telling me that I am beautiful and nobody should be able to bring you down," said Brown.

For more information on the Woman to Woman program, visit their website

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