We believe reducing the number of teenage mothers in our community is just one step of many in creating a community rich in opportunities and free from poverty.
The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative was formed in 2005 by UWJC and continues today as part of the Jackson County Health Department. TPPI seeks to improve adolescent sexual health, improve communication between teens and adults, and promote awareness on the issue. Because of this program, teenagers across Jackson County are engaged in conversations with peers and adults on sexual health . From January to June 2016, over 1,800 teens were reached through this program. TPPI provided us with an example of how they have been able to drive IMPACT in Jackson County.
Students from several area school districts benefitted from taking part in ‘I WISH’ Teen Pregnancy Prevention assemblies. Hundreds of students also participated in classroom discussions after each assembly. After each classroom discussion, our staff, Teen Advisory Council, and teen parent speakers spoke to several high school students who were impacted by hearing the stories in the video and live on stage. Many of our teen parent speakers were emotional at the assemblies talking about the challenges they have raising their children. The positive support the teen parents received was overwhelming to them. These speakers felt so empowered giving back to their community by reaching other teens with their story. At Northwest High School, the staff was so appreciative of our team coming in and leading the assembly. We even received personal emails from several of the staff regarding how beneficial and powerful the assembly was to their students. At the Middle School at Parkside, staff were engaged the entire time and kept students focused during the assembly. In fact, one of the school administrators told his personal story of being a teen parent to a group of 50 students. At Concord High School, the students were in desperate need of teen pregnancy prevention education. They indicated they were not informed about options of how to prevent a pregnancy and have not received any sex education at their high school. Staff took advantage of small group discussions after the assembly to provide educational information on contraception choices. The impact these assemblies have had this spring has been critical for the TPPI in building relationships with other schools and strengthening the presentation skills of our Teen Advisory Council. In turn, we anticipate that the sexual health choices made by the attendees at each assembly will improve as they consider the consequences of their choices.
Some 70% of teen mothers do not finish high school, they are not college or career ready;75% of teen mothers rely on public assistance within the first five years after giving birth. Most of them remain single, and only 30% receive support from the child’s father. TPPI is making a difference by impacting the lives our youth and preventing teenage pregnancies.