Where teens live, learn, work, and play influence their sexual decision making and risk of teen pregnancy. Many teens live in communities where unemployment may be high, violence and substance use present, and housing conditions poor. However, there are also protective factors, such as goal-setting, family, friends, school, and resources designed to empower teens. Parents, schools, youth serving providers, community members, and teens themselves all play a role in promoting healthy teen decision making and preventing teen pregnancy.
As part of The President’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, the CDC funded JSI to provide training and technical assistance to nine community- and state-level grantees across the nation. JSI’s component, Working with Diverse Communities, recently released the Place Matters: Youth Perspectives on Teen Pregnancy & Their Environment video. This video was developed in collaboration with Youth Leadership Teams from the City of Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy’s Youth First initiative and presents teens’ perspectives on the unique contexts where they live, learn, work, and play and the influence these community factors have on teen pregnancy.
As video companion tools, JSI developed a youth discussion guide and youth service provider discussion guide. Questions in each section of the guides are broken down by the main themes Youth Leadership Team members address in the video: 1) what their community and family mean to them; 2) the challenges they face; 3) recommendations as to how their communities can better support them; and 4) their hopes and dreams. The aim of this video is to raise awareness about community context influencing teen pregnancy, encourage communities to incorporate a social determinants of health approach to teen pregnancy prevention, and suggest six concrete actions to mobilize viewers enhancing their communities to better support in reducing risks and enhancing protective factors in their communities.
These tools were presented during the 2015 Healthy Teen Network Conference and American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Expo to spark conversations about the social determinants of teen pregnancy across the country. Youth service providers attending JSI’s Healthy Teen Network workshop discussed the importance of cultural competency, implementing diverse prevention strategies throughout the community, and addressing community-level risk factors related to teen pregnancy not just individual behavior. Participants also reflected on the importance of engaging teens themselves in pregnancy prevention while being inclusive of teen parents. For example engaging teens in program development and community awareness activities. A copy of the video and guides were disseminated to Healthy Teen Network workshop participants.
To view additional tools designed to support a community approach to teen pregnancy prevention, visit http://rhey.jsi.com/toolbox/.