The economic and social costs of teen pregnancy are high. It is well known that less than half of teen mothers complete high school, and fewer than 2% finish college by the age of 30 Visit disclaimer page . The Trinity Church Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program’s PlanBe__ project is reducing teen pregnancy rates and helping teens plan for a bright future. As a Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) grantee, a program funded by the Family & Youth Services Bureau, PlanBe__ equips Miami-Dade County youth with practical knowledge and skills to avoid risky behaviors and make their future goals a reality through everyday choices.
Perhaps you are wondering what the blank line represents in PlanBe__? It is a call to action for teens to redirect their focus from risky sexual activity to positive activities that will enrich their lives and ultimately help shape their futures. As such, Plan Be__ offers three evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs: Love Notes, Making Proud Choices!, and Reducing the Risk in 19 ZIP codes throughout Miami-Dade County, which include 16 middle schools, 20 high schools, 6 alternative sites, and more than 13 community settings.
PlanBe__ successfully leverages its unique mix of skills and abilities to meet the needs of youth in their communities. As a regular practice, program staff proactively look for opportunities to apply out-of-the-box approaches to project implementation, while recognizing the importance and responsibility of being a guiding voice for their community. PlanBe__ is a vital community resource, positioned as a frontline service provider for vulnerable youth. This means acknowledging and addressing the intersectionality of teen pregnancy, mental health, violence, and the overall culture of health in their community. Crystal Agnew, PlanBe__ Project Director, encourages grantees to “learn to speak up for your community... and look for opportunities in funding announcements on how you can link your community to critical support services. We approach every funding opportunity with a fresh perspective. That means working to achieve outcomes while planning for program and community impact, which is lasting.”
PlanBe__ has served 6,700 youth in Miami-Dade County since 2012 and is on target to reach an additional 1,125 youth in the upcoming year. The program recently surveyed 3,322 students before and after completing their Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and the positive results speak for themselves. After completing the course, over 80% of program participants (compared to the pre-program response of 65%) responded they would delay sexual initiation or use contraception if sexually active. More than 81% understood the risks and costs of getting pregnant post-program compared to 68% prior to the program. Nearly all students (90%) agreed or strongly agreed the program helped them become aware of the importance of delaying sex, and the program has made them think about important things that will help them in their life.
The PlanBe__ team is busy planning their annual Youth Leadership Retreat. The much-anticipated three-day event will convene 60 youth in Orlando, FL, in August, for a cadre of team-building and leadership-development exercises and community service activities. Program youth will also take part in college tours and close out their retreat with a “fun day” filled with park visits and other recreational activities.