Girls Inc. of Metro Denver (GIMD), the local branch of the national non-profit dedicated to inspiring girls to be strong, smart, and bold SM, announced today the kick-off of a fully youth-directed pregnancy prevention campaign, to lead up to National Pregnancy Prevention Day, on May 6, 2009. As part of GIMD’s comprehensive sexual education curriculum, 22 high school-age girls will create and implement a media campaign to raise awareness about teen pregnancy, teach abstinence, and promote sexual education among their peers in the Denver Metro community.
GIMD has 26 years of experience in the Denver community providing girls with the tools to make positive and informed decisions about their sexual behavior. Through the comprehensive sexual education course, Girls Action Project (GAP), teens are given the chance to share their knowledge with fellow girls in their community. Teens participating in the GAP course have worked in after school programming since January 2009, gaining the guidance and education necessary to execute a media campaign advocating for adolescent pregnancy prevention.
“Being in this class has opened my mind to thinking before having sex,” said Zahra Mohamed Ali, a 16 year-old student at George Washington high School, and a member of the GAP course. “I now feel it is my duty to spread this knowledge to other teenagers so they can learn about safe sex and contraceptives. I am going to protect myself so I don’t become another 16 year-old mother,” said Ali.
Girls will utilize MySpace, YouTube, pamphlets, and posters with original art work to relay messages about safe sex to their peers. The theme of the pregnancy prevention campaign is, “I know my protection, do you?” The campaign will culminate in an event to take place at the GIMD Teen Center, 1499 Julian Street, in May 2009. Girls from throughout the Denver Metro community will be invited to celebrate their personal pledge to make safe sexual choices. A guest speaker is to be announced.
“We want these girls to understand that with love comes responsibility,” said Carol Bowar, CEO and president of GIMD. “By allowing the girls to use their own voice to reach out and advocate for safe sexual choices among their peers, they learn to stand strong in their choices, and let their voices be heard,” said Bowar.
About Girls Inc. of Metro Denver
The core mission of Girls Inc. of Metro Denver (girlsincdenver.org) is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.SM As an affiliate of the national nonprofit organization Girls Inc., whose research-based programs and expertise on girls’ issues date back to 1864, we offer a variety of educational, enrichment and empowerment programs for girls ages 6 to 18 who are mostly from high-risk, underserved areas. Our programs, grounded in research and tested in the field, address educational, societal, and economic barriers girls continue to face. Our programs encourage girls to master challenges, build self-esteem, and achieve confident and responsible adulthood.
About Girls Inc. Comprehensive Sexual Education Courses
The Girls Inc. Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy (PAP) curriculum is a research-based and evaluated program that provides girls with the skills, insights, values, motivation, and support to postpone sexual activity, as well as to use effective protection to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. For more information on the Girls Action Project, please call Lakeysha Molock at 303-893-4363 x117, or visit our website.
Statistics on Adolescent Pregnancy
• Nationally, teen birth rates increased by three percent between 2005- 2006. This is the first time in 14 years (National Center for Health Statistics, National vital statistics report, 2007).
• In Colorado, on average more than 18 babies are born to teen mothers a day- or approximately one baby born every hour and a half (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, January 16, 2008).
• Research has shown that teens with high educational performance levels and plans to continue with schooling have been less likely than other teens to be sexually active and more likely to use contraception (Journal of Adolescent Research, 1993).
• Sexual education was found to be particularly important for subgroups that are traditionally at high risk for early initiation of sex and for contracting sexually transmitted diseases (Society for Adolescent Medicine, in Journal of Adolescent Health, July 17, 2007).
• Internationally, the United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy of any industrialized country- 57 births per 1,000 young women age 15 – 19 (Girl Incorporated National Research Center, February 19, 2009).