Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
Fulton, NY – In recognition of May being National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month Oswego County Opportunities Crisis & Development Services and Education Services has teamed with the Fulton YMCA, the Public Health Department, Fulton City School District, and Oswego County BOCES to organize and deliver events and activities that raise awareness and educate the community on teen pregnancy prevention.
In the last decade teen pregnancy rates in the United States have decreased by nearly 30 percent; still the United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy and births by teen moms among all industrialized nations. Each year more than 750,000 teens in the United States get pregnant, and in Oswego County there were 157 new teen pregnancies in 2011.
The purpose of the NTPPM committee, and the events it has scheduled, is to advocate and support programs in our community that prevent adolescent pregnancy and decrease the barriers that young people may face with being pregnant at a young age.
“Adolescents that become pregnant during their teen years face significant risk to their personal health, and can encounter employment and educational barriers,” said Ellen Lazarek, collaboration manager OCO Health Education / Crisis & Development Services. “The NTPPM committee is dedicated to raising awareness and working with young people to identify solutions and areas of strength in our community regarding supports for teens as they make decisions regarding their sexual health and relationships.”
According to Lazarek, sexually active teens are using condoms and contraception more frequently and effectively than ever before, and other teens are choosing to delay sexual activity until they are older. “In our community young people have access to supportive adults, peer educators, medically accurate sexual health education, and services to support them. OCO Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP), OCO Youth 4 Youth, and Oswego County BOCES Health Educators provide school based sexual health education, peer education & training, and one-on-one support sessions for youth to help promote these positive outcomes,” said Lazarek, collaboration manager, OCO Health Education and Crisis and Development Services.
For NTPPM the collaborative committee has organized a number of activities and events to support young people in adopting positive, responsible and healthy behaviors regarding sexuality. Resource fairs have been planned at all nine Oswego County High Schools and will offer students the opportunity to learn about resources and supports in their community, interact & educate their peers, and connect with supportive adult allies.
“These fairs are a great opportunity for us to deliver our message to teens and talk to them about the many services that are available to them and the importance of making healthy choices,” said Lazarek.
Information available to teens during the Resource Fairs will address the following topics and more:
Relationships / Dating
Handling Peer Pressure
Positive Peer Relationships
Additionally, middle school students at Hannibal, Fulton, and APW Rural After School Programs (RASP) will have an opportunity to participate in age-appropriate peer facilitated sessions focusing on healthy relationships and positive decision-making.
The NTPPM committee is also busy collaborating with florists, salons, and formal wear boutiques to display NTPPM posters created by youth and disseminate information regarding teen pregnancy prevention with prom floral orders & services.
“Open communication between youth and adult allies regarding sexual health, positive decision making, and teen pregnancy prevention is a major focus of all the efforts we have organized this May to promote NTPPM,” added Lazarek.
OCO, Inc is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966. A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 80 separate locations. For more information, visit www.oco.org
For more information regarding parent/child communication, community resources, teen pregnancy prevention, adolescent sexual health, or any other information please contact OCO Health Education at 315-592-0810 or OCO Crisis & Development Services at 315-342-7532.