Too young?

After reading teen mom’s story, strangers wanted to help. And they delivered.

More from the series

Too Young?

The Valley is home to California's highest teenage birth rates. Teen parents say they lack support at school, and sex education is infused with politics.

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When The Bee published the story of Graciela Pacheco, who was shamed out of her Fresno middle school for becoming pregnant at 14, readers wanted to know how they could help.

Since the story ran Friday, readers have donated nearly $3,000 to Pacheco via Go Fund Me. As of Monday morning, 35 donors had contributed to the fundraiser – including an anonymous donation of $500.

Pacheco, now 18, was reluctant to set up the account, even offering to pay donors back. But because of the overwhelming response to her story, she established the fundraiser, and announced Monday she had received enough to buy a new car to get her to school and work – and daughter Sherlynne to the park.

“I wanted to thank each and every one of you who has taken the time out of their day to donate, as well as to those who felt the need to give words filled with encouragement to me. They are sincerely, greatly appreciated,” Pacheco said. “When I was first told about the idea of creating a Go Fund Me, I thought, ‘No way, who would want to help Sherlynne and me with anything?’ Man, was I wrong.”

The story is the first in a series about sex education and teen pregnancy in the central San Joaquin Valley, and is produced as a project for the USC Center for Health Journalism’s California Fellowship.

Mackenzie Mays: 559-441-6412, @MackenzieMays


Graciela Pacheco’s GoFundMe page: