(Memphis) The Mid-South has the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country, and a positive pregnancy test can become a huge negative for many teens’ hopes and dreams.
One Memphis group is stepping up with a new plan to fight teen pregnancy, and it hopes to be a model for other cities across the nation.
Most teen pregnancy preventions programs are geared toward young women, and the “A Step Ahead” foundation from Memphis is about to change that.
“It’s a totally different approach. It’s totally directed at the young man, and we’re trying to bring something to present to him in a way that catches his attention,” said A Step Ahead Community Outreach Coordinator Belinda Simpson.
A new campaign called Man On targets young men in Memphis to make them more active in pregnancy prevention.
Young men learn differently than young women, so A Step Ahead is trying to tailor the material to their tastes.
The group is building websites to launch in a few weeks called Sexy Ed, and they’re also doing outreach in schools and community groups with relevant speakers who teach correct pregnancy prevention not just what a guy hears from his friends.
“Sexy Ed is kind of like your cool big brother to filter the information to the young man,” said Simpson.
The whole goal of the program is to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and for young men to start the pregnancy talk with their girlfriend.
The program also hopes to see more teens finish high schools so they can head to college if that’s what they want to do.
A Step Ahead is handing out ‘little black books’ with important tidbits on pregnancy prevention, like how to put condoms on and properly store them.
Some books will actually have a condom attached to the back and will be handed out depending on the group of young men.
A Step Ahead also says it’s important to make young men feel comfortable with the fact they can say no and remain abstinent as long as they want without any pressure from peers.
“If he’s equipped with the right information and she’s equipped with the right information, they can make a very educated decision,” said Simpson.
Learn more about A Step Ahead here.