Before Lucinda Welch owned her own accounting firm in Kennewick, she was a single mom trying to juggle parenting and college courses.
And long before Jeanne Jelke was hired to lead the Benton Franklin County chapter of the American Red Cross, she was raising her kids by herself.
Their stories weren't meant to impress the teen parents at New Horizons High School in Pasco -- they hoped to inspire them.
"You're thinking, 'Look at what these people have done already,' but we started out just like you," said Janelle Harvey, another of the members of the Rotary Club of Columbia Center who visited the school Tuesday morning.
The delegation brought children's books to students enrolled in the teen parenting program and came to start relationships with the young mothers in hopes of helping them break the cycle of teen parenting and poverty.
The Rotarians brought with them $4,000 worth of support for reading programs at New Horizons.
They paid for workshops called READY for Kindergarten, put on by the Children's Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia.
Brian Ace, the foundation's executive director, said teen parents are more likely to come from low-income and low-education backgrounds. And they often lack the life experience to get their children ready to start school.
The READY for Kindergarten workshops show parents how to incorporate teaching into the daily interactions with their kids, said Ace.
Tuesday, the Rotarians brought books for the teen parents to read to their children at home, as well as about 150 books for the school's day care center.
The Rotarians will continue to mentor the teen parents for the rest of the school year, visiting at least three more times, said Greg Falk, Rotary Club member and president of Boys and Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties, which runs the New Horizons day care.
Teen parenting teacher Michele Towne said she had long wanted to incorporate mentoring into the mothers' education. But starting a mentor program from scratch proved difficult.
"My job is made so much easier by these people coming in," she said.
And the mentors enjoyed the frank exchanges with the teen moms.
"We were all very impressed by how open those girls were," Harvey said.
And the students were thankful for the visit.
After the breakfast, back at the childcare center where each young woman helps out daily as part of the curriculum, two students read some of the new books to their kids.
"I enjoyed it a lot," said Katrina Rivera, holding her 7-month-old son, Angel. "I was surprised by how much time they gave us."
The 16-year-old mother says she tries to read to her son regularly. Rivera spends her mornings at New Horizons, goes to Pasco High for the rest of the school day and then back to the alternative school's day care to pick up Angel.
Maria Hernandez says she's grateful for the resources offered in Pasco. Hernandez moved here from Southern California earlier this year.
"I get a lot more support since I came to Washington," she said. "I'm more interested in school now."
The 17-year-old's daughter Aliyah will be 2 on Saturday. The two read a lot together and go to the library. Now they'll have more variety.
"I'm thankful for the new books," Hernandez said. "It's part of our class to read to all of the kids at the day care."