Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative
Bringing a Message of Hope and Encouragement to Jackson Teens.
One hundred more at-risk youth in the City of Jackson will receive abstinence education, service learning, and mentoring with the help of a recent expansion of grant dollars awarded to the Jackson County Health Department’s Abstinence Program, part of the Jackson County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. The TPPI is a collaboration between the health department and the United Way of Jackson County, along with 20 other local organizations.
The health department’s Abstinence Program received notification of being awarded an additional $50,000 from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s Michigan Abstinence Program to expand current programming. The funding will allow the program to reach an additional 100 youth in the City of Jackson with supervised community service learning, abstinence education, and activities related to key social developmental tasks of adolescence. Current funding allows the program to implement puberty and healthy relationship education to sixth grade students in Jackson Public and Northwest Community Schools. The program also includes the Get REAL summer program, which collectively impacts the lives of over 250 youth.
Jackson County has recently reduced its teen pregnancy rate by 30%, according to the latest Kids Count report. However, teen birth rates in the City of Jackson continue to be among the highest in the state. Teen pregnancy has been a significant issue that has negatively affected many social indicators in Jackson County such as child abuse and neglect, poverty rates, educational success, single parenthood, and juvenile delinquency, to name a few. Sixty-five percent of teen births in Michigan are paid for by local taxpayers; approximately 70% of teen mothers do not finish high school.
Since forming in 2006, TPPI and their Teen Advisory Council have made over 125 presentations to over 10,000 teens, parents, teachers, clergy, and youth advocates. They continue to deliver honest facts about how difficult it is to be a teen parent, and also stress the important of creating a positive future and achieving goals. Most of all, TPPI brings a message of hope and encouragement to many Jackson teens who may seldom hear these words.
The Jackson County Health Department and United Way could not accomplish the reduction in teen pregnancy we have achieved in our community without the ongoing consistent support of the Jackson community. Thank you for your assistance in helping to promote increased funding for the Jackson County Health Department’s Abstinence Program. Michelle White states, “The Jackson County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and Abstinence Program are excited about the opportunity to impact the lives of additional youth in the City of Jackson with a powerful message of healthy relationships and the benefits of waiting to have sex. The service learning component of this increased funding will help at-risk youth develop a sense of purpose by working in our community.”