The Issue: Oklahoma Teens Face Risks of Pregnancy and STIs
9,370 Oklahoman girls aged 15–19 got pregnant in 2005, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute. Teens in the state are also at risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections. In 2010, Oklahoma had the fifth highest rate of teen births, according to the National Vital Statistics System, and a 2010 report from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy states that teen mothers are less likely to graduate from high school.
The Campaign: Teach Youth about Safe Relationships
If this Grassroots campaign raises $400, then Teen emPower! Inc. can fund a four-day peer education training camp on healthy relationships for eight teens, with donations matched up to $2,000 by an anonymous donor. Each additional $100 raised—in conjunction with the matching donation—will fund participation in the camp for another two teens. Forty students are selected from a pool of applicants to receive training at the annual four-day camp, which teaches a life-skills curriculum called Postponing Sexual Involvement. They learn about social pressure, how to be assertive, and the risks of early sexual involvement. The camp also includes more traditional endeavors such as roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and engaging in leadership- building activities. After the camp, students can share what they learned with middle-school students in a classroom setting and continue to participate in community-service activities throughout the year.
All donations will be matched up to a $2,000 total by an anonymous donor. You can follow the progress of this and other Grassroots campaigns at the Groupon Grassroots website.
Teen emPower! Inc.
Teen emPower! Inc. (TEI) hosts two programs that aim to prevent high-risk sexual behaviors among adolescents that could lead to pregnancy or STIs. The programs include The Courage to Say KNOW, which was developed at the University of Oklahoma, and Postponing Sexual Involvement, which teaches students to be peer mentors and share science-based instruction. The programs take a holistic approach to healthy sexual relationships by touching on a variety of issues, including setting boundaries, the prevention of HIV and other STIs, contraceptives, self-esteem, and abstinence. TEI draws students from three regional high schools and trains them to become peer educators so they can help spread the programs to middle-school students and high-school freshmen.