More youth are confident in their ability to prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and parents are more likely to have conversations with their adolescents about sex, according to the 4Me Teen Health Project year two evaluation report.
The Teen Health Project is implemented in Clay, Duval and Nassau counties for teenagers ages 12-18 to reduce the rates of teen births and sexually transmitted infections. The program consists of three components: a comprehensive sex education series for teens; parent workshops; and six-month teen leadership councils.
Since expanding in 2013, the 4Me Teen Health Project has reached 273 youth with comprehensive sex education and 134 parents with health information and parent-child communication skills. More than 100 teens leaders have participated in and completed a six-month teen leadership council, aimed developing peer educators and providing health information to the community.
After completing the education series, 81 percent of youth demonstrated increased confidence in their ability to obtain information to avoid unplanned pregnancy. Seventy percent of parents demonstrated increased confidence in their ability to discuss sex with their child(ren). Ninety days after the conclusion on the classes, 95 percent of teens who were abstinent while participating in the series remained abstinent, while 87 percent of parents reported having at least one conversation about sex with their children.
Other successes include more than 500 text messages to the BrdsNBz Text Message Warm Line, a text message service that youth can send sexual health questions to and receive an answer within 24 hours. More than 145 staff from the region have participated in trainings on adverse childhood experiences, positive youth development, LGBTQ sensitivity and more.
The program is now in it’s third year, with a Spring 2015 and Fall 2015 series planned. Two new sites joined seven returning locations:
- APEL Health Services, a Northside agency dedicated to improving the quality of life for underserved populations through community outreach, health education, youth development, mentoring, and self sufficiency.
- Sanctuary on 8th Street, an after-school, summer camp and home school program for youth in the Springfield area.
The returning sites are the Florida Department of Health — Clay County, the Florida Department of Health — Nassau County, the Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network (JASMYN), the Magnolia Project, Victory Pointe Apartments (Jacksonville Housing Authority), Southwind Villas Apartments (JHA/the Bridge of Northeast Florida) and the Bridge of Northeast Florida Main Campus.
Since 2011, the Coalition and its community partners have implemented the Teen Health Project for teenagers ages 12-18 to reduce the rates of teen births and sexually transmitted infections. The teen birth rate in the region exceeds that of the state and nation, despite declines over the past 20 years.
The project has been funded through the teen pregnancy prevention-focused Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Children and Families since 2012.