The Office of Population Affairs of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the award of $13,566,000 for 29 grants to organizations for Replication of Programs Proven Effective through Rigorous Evaluation to Reduce Teenage Pregnancy, Behavioral Risk Factors Underlying Teenage Pregnancy, or Other Associated Risk Factors (Tier 1) – Phase I. The grants start on July 15, 2019 for a two-year project period.

According to HHS, funded grantees will replicate programs that have been proven effective through rigorous evaluation to reduce teenage pregnancy, behavioral risk factors underlying teenage pregnancy, or other associated risk factors. Grantees will identify how to bring effective programs to scale and build the knowledge base on understanding what elements/components/factors are important to program success. Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania is one of the awardees named in this round of funding and was awarded $998,000 to implement Healthy Lifestyles, using the evidence-based Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program (TOP) in Allegheny County.  President and CEO Dr. Lisa Abel-Palmieri says: “We are pleased that the reviewers agreed that we had a strong proposal and are looking forward to launching the program this fall. Our Healthy Lifestyles Program will promote the positive development of adolescents through curriculum-guided, interactive group discussions; positive adult guidance and support; and community service learning. It will be delivered by trained adult facilitators across the school year to groups of teens and meet the developmental needs of middle and high school teens. We look forward to partnering with parents, schools and other providers to reach as many teens as we can.”

Allegheny County’s 2017 Pennsylvania Youth Survey results show that 25.6% of local youth in Grades 6-12 were pressured to do something sexual in the past 12 months. Further, psychology offers several theories to explain how the sexualization of girls and women could influence girls’ well-being. Ample evidence testing these theories indicates that sexualization has negative effects in a variety of domains, including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality and attitudes and beliefs.
The overall goal of Healthy Futures is to promote healthy adolescence and to address youth sexual risk across the interrelated factors that promote optimal health and result in healthy decision-making and teen pregnancy prevention.

 

Our annual objectives are:
1. Implement a robust, culturally responsive and comprehensive curricula that includes medically-accurate information referenced to peer-reviewed publications by educational, scientific, governmental, or health organizations;
2. Increase participant knowledge about the benefits of abstinence and delaying sexual activity;
3. Increase participant awareness of, and knowledge about, STD/STIs;
4. Increase protective factors associated with delayed or decreased sexual activity among participants who complete the program; 5. Provide participants with support services (e.g., referrals to overcome trauma and difficulties they face); and
6. Evaluate the program and disseminate information about its capacity to effectively educate youth on risk avoidance.

Healthy Lifestyles will impact approximately 800 youth and their families each year. Wyman’s TOP was selected as the appropriate intervention based on its alignment to community expectations and its demonstrated success in preventing teen pregnancy, reducing associated risk behaviors, and promoting healthy adolescent development. Our project partners will be high schools and other community organizations and are actively looking for more partners as well as hiring our founding Healthy Lifestyles team.