TEEN PREGNANCY RATES IN CALHOUN COUNTY
Teen pregnancy not only affects adolescent females, but it can also have an effect on you and society. The Brookings Institution highlighted Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® and its value in their 2007 report, Cost Effective Investments in Children. The factors for youth and society include earnings potential and positive effects on health from finishing high school and not having an early pregnancy. The factors for government include tax revenue, welfare, and crime. According to the Friedman Foundation: A student who drops out of high school earns about $10,000 less per year ($400,000 over their working lives) and is twice as likely to go to prison. The unemployment rate for high school dropouts is 20.1% as compared to 4.4% for high school graduates. All costs and benefits are shown in 2003 dollars. The benefit-cost analysis does not include the value of volunteer time provided by the participants. The cost to deliver TOP® does vary by site based on their use of volunteers and in-kind supports of transportation, food, and meeting space.
WHAT IS THE TEEN OUTREACH PROGRAM®?
The Wyman Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) is one of the most highly regarded teen outreach programs in the nation. These endorsements are generally made on the strength of the program’s results, the cost-effectiveness of the approach, and the alignment with proven youth development best practice.
The TOP® program is a community approach to promote healthy behaviors and acquire valuable life skills in teens helping them develop a sense of purpose. These fundamental goals are the asset building blocks that adolescents need during this crucial phase of their development. TOP® works by connecting youth to positive adult role models, holding high expectations matched with high levels of support, and providing opportunities to make a real difference in their communities.
TOP® is designed as an “Abstinence Plus” program, providing factual information about adolescent development. The message is that abstinence is the safest and most effective way to avoid disease, infections, and pregnancy. The approach to sexuality can be tailored to meet Calhoun County’s culture and needs. The program is implemented every week afterschool over a nine month period.
During the nine month session, the following items are focused on:
- Values Clarification: Teens explore and challenge their own values, the impact of gender roles on values, the values of their family and friends, and the impact of the larger society on their value formation.
- Relationships: Teens examine the dynamics of friendships, family relationships and conflicts, peer pressure, romantic relationships, dating, and violence within relationships.
- Influence: Teens explore and grapple with the various influences on their lives and decisions, including peer pressure and media messages.
- Goal-Setting: Teens practice goal identification, understand short-term versus long-term goals, explore their future options, think about plans for life after high-school, and discuss the potential impact of teen parenting on their future plans.
- Communication/Assertiveness: Teens discuss and apply concepts such as active listening, assertive communication, nonverbal communication, how to say “no” and refuse a request, the use of “I” messages, and how to utilize personal and community resources to meet their needs.
- Decision-Making: Teens examine choices and consequences, practice using decision-making tools, and reflect upon recent decisions they have made.
- Development and Human Sexuality: Teens learn about adolescent development (emotional and physical) and human sexuality from a holistic perspective - abstinence-plus approach. This technique provides information on abstinence as the safest way to not become pregnant/father a child and to remain free of sexually transmitted infections. Information on the reproductive process and contraception is also provided for teens to make informed choices about their sexual activity.
WHAT SCHOOLS HAVE TOP® CLUBS?
In the 2016-2017 school year, Calhoun County TOP® clubs are located in two Calhoun County schools: Springfield Middle School and Harper Creek Middle School.
For more information on TOP®, please contact the Health Department at 269-969-6482.
The Calhoun County Public Health Department TOP® program is grant funded through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.