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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Episode 35 (Epilogue): Teen Pregnancy

Tonight we spoke with Planned Parenthood Community Outreach Coordinator Pat Wolfson, Jennie Hall, a local mom and volunteer at Cyesis, and stay-at-home-teen-mom and Navy Wife Nikki Gottwald. 

The Conversation began with an overview of a report titled, "Birth Rates for U.S. Teenagers Reach Historic Lows for All Age and Ethnic Groups". We discussed the report's conclusion - that teen pregnancy prevention messages were having a positive impact on teen birth rates.

We then brought in Pat Wolfson to give us a micro-level perspective. She indicated that while Sarasota County's teen birth rates are similar to the national average, Manatee County's rates are twice as high. See teen birth rates for all Florida counties here.

Before welcoming Jennie Hall by phone, we discussed the two local teen parent high schools: TAPP and CYESIS. Jennie told us about her experience as a volunteer with the Lullaby League. She said, "most of the [mothers from the Cyesis program] that I have seen are choosing not to be victims. They are really, really working hard in order to get that degree."

Finally we spoke with Nikki Gottwald who attended high school in Sarasota but has since relocated to California with her husband and young daughter. Nikki and her husband Nick made the conscious choice to start a family while Nikki was still in high school. She discussed her struggles and successes and had some advice for teenagers thinking about getting pregnant. "Whether or not you think you can emotionally or physically take on a baby," she said, "do you really think that you can give your baby the best life possible?" She continued, "A lot of teen moms I know think I can give my baby a lot but if I had waiting a little longer I would have been able to give them the world."

Additional Resources:
Real Life: Real Talk - Parent and Teen Sexual Education Appointments
The Source Teen Theatre
How to Talk to Your Children About Sex

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