The bad news is that Texas is ranked 4th in the nation for the number of teens giving birth. The good news is that there is a new approach to combating that rate, led by experts in the family-planning field, delivered directly to students in their school. It’s called Real Talk, and it’s taught by a new collaboration between LifeWorks and Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas.
“This is vital information that a lot of young people aren’t getting, and parents aren’t getting the support and tools they need to start these conversations,” said Stephanie McCoy, Bilingual Prevention Specialist for Real Talk.
Real Talk provides small group education for 6th-8th grade students, workshops for parents led by prevention specialists using the “Families Talking Together” curriculum, and training to middle school science teachers with evidence-based curricula at select Austin and Manor-based schools. There are take-home activities after each lesson to increase communication between students and parents.
“We’ve seen how much parents want this information and how important they think it is. Parents are the primary sexuality educators of their children. In our groups we teach facts, and it’s the role of the families to teach their values,” Stephanie continued. “This helps young people understand their bodies, their needs, how to set and respect boundaries, and ultimately make decisions that are right for them.”
It’s the combination of the education in the classroom with a trusted adult, and the continued discussion at home that makes the difference. The feedback from the parents has been tremendous, with parents feeling more ready to speak with their children, and reporting better communication and conversations that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.
Though Real Talk is still in its first year of implementation, the program has already reached 84 parents and 569 students. This forward thinking collaboration between these two organizations made Real Talk a perfect candidate for a St. David’s Foundation Teen Pregnancy Prevention grant. Young women and men who delay parenthood until adult years will be less likely to live in poverty and more likely to be prepared emotionally and financially for pregnancy and parenting.