By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter
Jazmynn Abalos, 19, and Byron Buchanan, 20, first met at Bowsher High School when they were a freshman and a sophomore, respectively. They eventually developed a friendship and became boyfriend and girlfriend in 2021.
When Bryon met Jazmynn she already had her first child, her daughter Jada.
“I knew if I wanted to make a relationship with her, I had to make a relationship with Jada as well… a commitment to her…” said Byron, “It’s been a great experience with them… I love them both.”
In March 2022 the pair welcomed their own baby boy: D’angelo. Since there is no other biological co-parent for Jada. Byron is father to both.
Jazmynn and Byron joined Brothers and Sisters United together this year and Byron completed Brothers United as well.
“I didn’t know much about being a parent,” said Byron. “She’s (Jazmynn’s) been a great help.” Jada is now five years old and D’angelo, three months. While the two have a wonderful support system of family and friends, and each other, Pathway has provided additional support and fills in the gaps.
Though the two may seem young to some, their outlook on life and perspective in their relationship is very mature. “We have our ups and downs… we make the best out of it,” said Byron.
Their relationship has presented its challenges. “Walking into a relationship already with one kid [was challenging].” Jazmynn said. Brothers United helped the most post-pregnancy. “[Brother’s United] helped the most during maternity leave,” said Jazmynn “Having that time, even just to hear from other moms, helped balance.”
Brothers and Sisters United helped them improve communication in their relationship. “We were having problems in our relationship. Brother’s United help us to fix our communication and try to get more time in with each other,” said Jazmynn. Byron agreed “it help us grow more between us and as parents as well.”
The pair work on their relationship themselves and their relationship for their children. “[Bother’s United] teaches you how to have a positive relationship … because that’s what is best for the kids,” said Jazmynn. “It’s more than just being a better parent, it’s becoming a better person as well.” The Brothers United program would put them in scenarios in class that would challenge them and provide them with proper tools to solve them.
Before Byron, Jazmynn was raising her child alone. She had to now learn how to co-parent with another person. Byron is learning every day how to be a father. The situation was new two to both and Pathway supplied them with a roadmap to navigate.
Both believe the program should be known to more to people and that many people would benefit. “It was beneficial to me – it can be beneficial to anybody else,” said Byron. Jazmynn recommended her Bowsher classmate, Trey Murrell. (See The Truth, June 15 issue).
Today, Pathway stills check up on the pair with phone calls.
“The biggest thing I learned is you’re not alone,” said Jazmynn, “and there’s help, you may have to go and look for it but there are people willing to help.”
To learn more visit pathwaytoledo.org or call 419-242-7304.