John Deere employee shares her story as YWCA announces big move

They were the family NaTera Pugh says she never had, teaching the teen mom how to be a parent while providing daycare for her 4-month-old daughter while she attended class.

NaTera Pugh
NaTera Pugh

Pugh was a sophomore at Rock Island High School at the time. She didn't have much help at home. Her mom wasn't around, she said, so she went to the YWCA Teen Parent and Childhood Education Center, located inside the Rock Island, Illinois, high school, hoping to find help.

"I just showed up one day with a 4-month-old baby and they just took me in," Pugh recalled. "They were like the family I never had, that I didn't have at home. They taught me everything. Everything about her care."

The staff helped Pugh with housing, family planning and more.

"Anything you can think of that a teen mom would need," Pugh said.

Pugh graduated and attended Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois, where she studied early childhood education. She wanted to go to work for the YWCA at the Teen Parent and Childhood Education Center, to be part of that family other teen moms and their children needed.

It was very rewarding," Pugh said of working for the YWCA. "I had a rough childhood, so being able to step into that position and treat the children the way I wish I had been treated when I was growing up was a great feeling

NaTera Pugh and her daughter Onna
NaTera Pugh and her daughter Onna at
Onna's high school graduation in 2018.

After 15 years working for the YWCA, Pugh decided to take the next step in her career, partly to help pay for her daughter's college tuition.

"I had to find something that would pay more," Pugh said, noting the YWCA staff was very supportive.

Pugh is now a material handler working at the John Deere Parts Distribution Center in Milan, Illinois, where she has worked for the past two and a half years. Her daughter is a junior at Western Illinois University.

Pugh will speak at a press conference in Rock Island, Illinois, on Dec. 15, where it will be announced that the YWCA Quad Cities is moving to a new facility with help from numerous donors, including John Deere.