Inside People

updated 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

FOR SOME 50 PEOPLE CORRESPONDENTS AND photographers, Sept. 23, 1994, was a day like no other. Spanning the country from Portland, Maine, to Pasadena, Calif., many of our teams literally moved into the homes of unwed teen parents and mothers-to-be for 24 hours in order to capture firsthand the hardships and joys experienced by kids who are raising kids. "It was the most satisfying reporting assignment I've ever had, and the most depressing," says Lisa Greissinger, who spent the day in East Harlem with Kizzy Bonilla, 17, and her newborn, Ethen. "These girls are young, and their lives are really hard. But there's so much strength when it comes to their children."

Los Angeles correspondent Kurt Pitzer, who filed on Adan Chamul, 18, his 16-year-old girlfriend, Claudia Resendiz, and their 7-month-old baby, Daniela, was equally moved. "They are learning to be parents at an age when their friends are still hanging out at the mall," he says of Adan and Claudia. "They haven't completed the process of growing up themselves."

The project was the brainchild of managing editor Landon Y. Jones, who decided last summer to invest the magazine's full resources in reporting on a subject that, he says, "is unusual for PEOPLE to cover in depth, but that's precisely why we wanted to do it. This problem is too big and too important to be left to policymakers. Yet it is under-covered in the popular press." Jones gave the story 19 pages (beginning on page 38), making it one of the longest and most complex pieces ever published by PEOPLE. The coverage was organized by consulting editor Peter Herbst, who says he wanted "to get inside the heads of teenagers and see what they really think. I felt that if we could convey the reality of teen pregnancy in a very stark but fair way—and present successful programs that offer young girls a sense that they do have a future—we could make a real contribution."

While statistics show that teen pregnancy runs in families and that it is a cycle only the strongest seem to be able to break, some see reason for hope. Says Mario Ruiz, who photographed Kizzy Bonilla and her son: "This fragile little baby is so dependent on a mother whose own hold on life is so tenuous. But Kizzy's a tough one. I think she's going to do better than we all think."

Predictions also play a big role in associate editor Louise Lague's profiles of six of the best-known astrologers, including Patric Walker and Joyce Jillson, which begin on page 86. This was familiar turf for Lague. Her first job after graduating from Georgetown University was a three-month stint handling the personal correspondence of media psychic Jeane Dixon. "That experience made me open to reincarnation, past lives, all those ideas," says Lague, a Capricorn who grew up in West Warwick, R.I. Having her chart done by Vanity Fair astrologer Michael Lutin was a particular thrill. "He's scary in print and full of one-liners in person," she says. Still, like the others she profiled, she found him "very serious about his work and an astute observer of human nature." And what was his estimation of Lague, a Connecticut wife and mother of two sons who regularly hits the speaking and media circuits for PEOPLE and still finds time to pen the Ask Louise column in our sister publication IN STYLE? "He said I was good at business, with a broad artistic streak," Lague says. "A rare combination of a wild bohemian and a nun." Yeah, but is she going to win the lottery?

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