Connect and Collaborate to Serve Vulnerable Youth
The 2016 HHS Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grantee Conference took place on July 19–21, 2016, in Baltimore, Maryland. This year’s conference, Connecting the Dots: Collaborating to Achieve Lasting Impacts for Youth, invited federally funded TPP and adolescent sexual health grantees to share ideas and lessons learned from their own programs, particularly as they pertain to reaching vulnerable youth.
This year’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Conference―or #2016TPP for those who were following along on Twitter―aimed to strengthen adolescent pregnancy prevention (APP) programs across the nation and funding sources by giving grantees opportunities to network, share lessons learned, and hear directly from the most important stakeholders of all: the youth we serve.
Youth Lead the Way
Nearly 1,000 people, including APP grantees from the Family and Youth Services Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Office of Adolescent Health, attended this year’s conference. Bringing together grantees from different organizations provided grantees opportunities to share their best practices for reaching vulnerable youth and learn from each other’s experiences.
Grantees appreciated the chance to attend APP Live: Voices of Youth, a live talk show segment moderated by the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. Teen and young adult participants on the talk show shared their experiences in various APP programs and what they wanted future facilitators to learn. Youth panelists included participants from the following grantee organizations:
- James Madison University, Competitive Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP);
- Philadelphia Public Health Management Corporation, Personal Responsibility Education Innovation Strategies (PREIS) Program; and
- Monterey County Health Department, California State PREP subawardee.
Hearing the youth voice is important for grantees to plan and implement programs that support adolescents, and APP: Live did not disappoint. Conference attendees described the talk show as innovative and attention-grabbing, and noted that it provided grantees with insights into incorporating the youth perspective in their own programs. One grantee expressed that it was interesting to hear youth panelists echo common themes, despite the fact that they are from different parts of the country.
Creating Space for Collaboration―FYSB Grantees’ UnConference Sessions
Prior to the conference, FYSB grantees identified key topics that their programs face, including using interventions with vulnerable populations, engaging the community, and identifying what to do when a pregnant or parenting teen is an intervention participant. The attending FYSB grantees then spent time in UnConference sessions, where they discussed these issues in smaller groups. The UnConference breakout sessions provided grantees the opportunity interact with individuals from other programs. Grantees were exposed to different perspectives in their groups, which allowed them to share insights, learn new approaches and strategies for adapting curricula, and explore challenges that other programs face.
Effectively implementing APP programs can be challenging. It is easy to get bogged down in daily operations and forget about the bigger picture―the important work of preparing youth for the future. The conference reminded grantees that they are not alone in the challenges they face. As one grantee noted, “It was helpful to hear how others struggle and how they manage issues.”
Overall, the 2016 TPP conference provided grantees with learning and networking opportunities to help enhance their own programs. Grantees walked away with tools to help them develop and sustain collaborative efforts that support their own APP work. Even the younger participants enjoyed themselves: “It was a great experience to help spread the word of the youth,” noted one of the APP: Live youth panelists.
Did you attend the 2016 TPP Conference? Let us know what you thought! Tweet us at
@FYSBgov or use hashtag #2016TPP to share your feedback.