Keeping communication open to prevent teen pregnancy as well as become independent after the fact
By Jennifer Browning
It isn’t just reality shows like MTV’s “Teen Mom” getting blasted for glamorizing teen pregnancy that has Texas and the nation talking about the issue.
The nation is battling it out over teaching abstinence-only over abstinence-plus to our kids when it comes to sex education. The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization that conducts research on sexual and reproductive health, reported that the teen pregnancy rate rose 3% in 2006–the first increase since the late ’80s. In September, the Dallas Morning News reported Dallas as being number one in repeated teen births, while it has been no secret that Texas ranks as number three in teen pregnancies.
People are pointing fingers when it comes to sex-education and statistics, but recently it seem that the majority of op-ed writers tend to say the same thing: that no matter what you teach our youth there is no substitute for good communication between parents and kids.
David C. Wiley, a Texas State University professor of health education and chairman of the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, told the DMN that federally funded, abstinence-only programs share part of the blame in the rising teen pregnancy rate.
Working to keep the communication lines open with the teen mothers in the program, alley’s house case workers constantly talk over various situations and scenarios encountered by these teen mothers. By keeping the communications open and talking to the teens about their goals and the possibilities in their future, the teen mom’s at alley’s house are less likely to become pregnant again.
The program also requires teen mothers to sign an agreement stating they will not become pregnant while they are enrolled and receiving alley’s house services.
alley’s house wants those young women who already have children to have the chance to complete their education, get a job, and work towards achieving their independence in order to open up possibilities for the future. By abiding by the agreement and through the support services offered through alley’s house, it ensures that the next births for the teen mother are spread out so she can work toward her goals and be independent from government assistance like welfare.
In order to keep communications open to youth who haven’t faced teen pregnancy, alley’s house works toward prevention through the Reality Checks program. In this program, alley’s house teen mothers participate in panel discussions with youth at local schools. During the Reality Checks panel discussion, teen moms share the candid realities and the difficulties of being a teen mother. Youth in the audience have the opportunity to ask the panel questions about the teen parent’s situation. The dialogue through this program hits home to those youth in the audience.
alley’s house couldn’t operate and provide these important services and programs without the support of individual donors. This month, during alley’s house‘s HIGH FIVE campaign we are asking donors and friends to show support by donating at least $5. Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation to send over a HIGH FIVE and help us empower teen mothers to become educated and independent.