Teens Encouraging Teens and Preteens To Make Smart Healthy Choices
May 23, 2017
High rates of teen pregnancy can upend young lives and increase the burden on a community’s social programs.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) was formed in 2005 by United Way of Jackson County with a mission to reduce the teen pregnancy rate and address contributing factors for Jackson County’s young people. TPPI strives to improve adolescent sexual health in Jackson County, improve parent-child communication regarding adolescent sexual health in our community, and promote awareness of the issue. The program currently operates as part of the Jackson County Health Department and is supported by UWJC. TPPI’s mission is supported in part by their Teen Advisory Council (TAC), a group of teens who communicate with educational leaders, make classroom presentations, and promote sexual health awareness among their peers. Here is an example of the IMPACT this council is having in our community.
Two members of TAC worked with leadership at Columbia Central Middle School to plan an event to promote their cause. These teens organized and arranged a panel discussion for 7th and 8th grade students. These two young leaders lead the charge in setting up the panel and recruiting fellow TAC members. The result was an open and frank conversation between students about peer pressure and healthy relationships. TAC continues to be a driver of teen pregnancy prevention work with their peers across Jackson County.
Over 75% of teen moms rely on public assistance within the first five years after giving birth. Most remain single, and less than 30% receive child support. TPPI and TAC are empowering Jackson County kids and encouraging them to make healthy choices. The Teen Advisory Council has a solid presence at Jackson, Northwest, Columbia Central, Lumen Christi, Hanover-Horton, and East Jackson School Districts. As a result of their community awareness efforts—and your support for United Way—1,200 teens and preteens have been positively influenced by their peers.