|National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM)|
May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month!
As part of the President's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI), CDC is partnering with the federal Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) to reduce teenage pregnancy and address disparities in teen pregnancy and birth rates. The OASH Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) is supporting public and private entities to fund medically accurate and age appropriate evidence-based or innovative program models to reduce teen pregnancy. OAH has launched a community-wide initiative in 10 communities in 9 states to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy. The communities participating in this initiative are:
Alabama Department of Public Health, Mobile, Alabama;
This month we will be celebrating the work that Advocates for Youth does on behalf of the OAH with these 10 communities to test the effectiveness of innovative, multi-component, community-wide initiatives in reducing rates of teen pregnancy and births in communities with the highest rates, with a focus on African American and Latino youth aged 15-19. A key component driving this initiative forward in the communities is the Youth Leadership Teams (YLT). The YLT is a leadership team of young community mobilizers who have become recognized as leaders by their peers and their community because of their extensive sexuality information, and their direct involvement, and voice in the design, implementation and evaluation of TPP initiatives. In celebration of NTPPM, Advocates will be highlighting the work the youth are doing to prevent teen pregnancy.
To close out National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, we are highlighting the exciting work that our youth are doing in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
A. Bronx Teens Connection (BxTC), Bronx, NY
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Maternal, Infant, and Reproductive Health (NYCDOH) has implemented “Bronx Teens Connection,” a multicomponent, communitywide teen pregnancy prevention initiative in two community districts in the South Bronx. Key partners include the Bronx District Public Health Office, the Department of Education, the Administration for Children’s Services, private clinical service providers, and a number of minority- and youth-serving organizations in the community. Evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention curricula are being implemented in high schools in the target community, as well as for teens in foster care and out-of-school settings. Links to clinical services are being strengthened in school-based and community health centers. This initiative includes an innovative social marketing campaign using new media to educate community youth and stakeholders. NYCDOH provides training and technical assistance to community partners, including training on long-term institutional sustainability.
The Bronx Teens Connection has a very active and engaged Youth Leadership Team that serve as peer educators and advocates and also provide valuable input in creating teen pregnancy prevention media campaigns such as the development of the Teens in NYC app and the contraception campaign. Here is what the BxTC YLT Members have to say:
To learn more about the BxTC Youth click here.
B. Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, Hartford, CT
The Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (HTPPI) aims to create a community in which all youth will be educated and equipped to make informed decisions about their reproductive health and every young person is healthy and self-sufficient. To help reach that goal the HTPPI has established a Youth Leadership Team (YLT) to provide direct links to young people to engage, educate, and build youth support for the project, and works collaboratively with other components of the project. To learn more about the YLT and what they are doing click here.
C. Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, Springfield and Holyoke, MA
The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy one of only 9 organizations across the country awarded a grant to support its Youth First initiative in Springfield and Holyoke. The grant is an initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test the effectiveness of community-wide approaches to reducing teen pregnancy. The goal of Youth First is to reduce teen births by 10% over 5 years in Holyoke and Springfield.
Our community's vision is that all young people in Springfield and Holyoke have:
We are working to bring together all sectors of the community in this effort. Parents of adolescents, teachers, faith leaders, youth, business owners, school administrators, social workers, community-based organizations, clinical providers, employers, pediatricians all have a role to play.
The youth in our community have been hard at work this year. Their activity has included peer education to several community peer agencies, presenting for community leaders, presenting at community health fairs and most recently hosting a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day event that had 100 + attendees. One of our Youth Leadership pods has been trained as peer educators and has been implementing an EBI in their community. The Dunbar Family and Community YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts is one of a few organizations that have a specific program targeting Teen Reproductive Health. The Dunbar Y, has 4 peer leaders, who are apart of the Youth First Youth Leadership Team. The 4-member team is made up of two males and two females, who range in experience, ethnicity, age, and leadership style. The Peer Educators facilitate Making Proud Choices! to their community of peers. Within the group there one leader who has an outstanding record of service and dedication to his community and the work the he is a part of.
Adegoriola (Adey) Thomas, is a senior in high school in Springfield, MA. Adey has an amazing sense of dedication and reliability. He recently received recognition from the Mayor of Springfield for have a four year streak of perfect attendance. Adey’s dedication and passion for education his peers go far past facilitating an EBI. He is often observed talking to his peers about making good decisions and encouraging them to reach their goals.
Adey comments on his experience as a Peer Educator - “I attend the program "Making Proud Choices" every Thursday at Dunbar Community Center. The program talks about teen pregnancy, STD's and how to prevent an individual from falling victim of the negative consequences of sexual practices. The program has impacted my life in so many ways because from attending this program, I have learned how to protect myself by using a condom the proper way. I have also learned how to communicate with my partner so we can both be on the same page when it comes to protecting ourselves. Also, I take the information I learn from this program and inform my friends in school especially how HIV is transmitted from one person to another.”
Here are the Mass Alliance Youth in Action:
D. IMatter!, Philadelphia, PA
I Matter is a community driven, teen pregnancy prevention project in West and Southwest Philadelphia. Our goal is to provide communities with teen-friendly sexual and reproductive health education and services.
Teens play a critical role in our program’s efforts to reduce teen birth rates. Currently, I Matter’s Youth Leadership Team (YLT) is actively engaged in many communities as advocates for healthy sexual choices. YLT members have created media, participated in leadership development, and gained the skills and education needed to make healthy decisions now and for their futures. I Matter’s Youth Leadership Team represents the teens of West & Southwest Philadelphia. We seek teens that demonstrate leadership and confidently make healthy decisions
To learn more about what the YLTs are doing and who they are click here.
E. Not Right Now, Put Pregnancy on Pause, Spartanburg, South Carolina
The South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (SC Campaign) has implemented innovative, multicomponent, communitywide initiatives to prevent teen pregnancy in two communities, with a focus on reaching African American and Latino youth aged 15–19 years. SC Campaign works to reduce teen pregnancy among ethnic minority youth in Spartanburg and Horry Counties by increasing access to high quality, evidence-based and evidence-informed youth development and teen pregnancy prevention programs, and increasing linkages between these programs and community-based clinical services. Major activities include developing a Community Advisory Group with representatives from a Youth Advisory Panel and local clinics, educating leadership on evidence-based programming, and developing content for an Online Learning Center aimed at building capacity among local partner organizations.
Here’s what Spartanburg County’s Youth Advisory Board is doing:
Raise Your Voice: A Call to Action
Young people have the right to lead healthy lives. Providing them with honest, age appropriate comprehensive sexual health education is a key part in helping them take personal responsibility for their health and well-being. Providing young people with the skills and tools to make healthy decisions about sex and relationships is far more effective than denying them information and simply telling them not to have sex. Young people need sex education policies that respect their autonomy and includes all of the necessary information, not programs that deny important and relevant information.
Abstinence only until marriage programs do not serve the needs of young people, and often contains and perpetrates stigmatizing, shaming, and stereotyping messages. Comprehensive sexual health education programs include medically accurate, age-appropriate information about healthy sexual growth and development; healthy relationships; prevention of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections through abstinence and contraception; gender, gender identity and sexual orientation; and is inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth.
There are two bills currently introduced in Congress, the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act and the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act, which together would promote federally-funded sex education programs and remove funding for harmful abstinence only until marriage programs. Make sure that your elected Members of Congress know that you support these key pieces of legislation, and encourage them to show their support of providing young people with the education, tools, and skills to make healthy and responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
Click here to raise your voice and show your support for the right to lead a healthy life.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention information and resources: