We prepare teens for the future. Our grantee organizations direct evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programming and adulthood preparation education in their communities. These organizations also incorporate adulthood preparation subjects into their pregnancy prevention programs to better engage and support vulnerable youth and promote their successful transition to adulthood.
6 ADULTHOOD PREPARATION SUBJECTS
How can we help vulnerable youth stay on track and delay parenthood?
Adolescent development extends beyond the physiological changes that occur in adolescence to also encompass cognitive, emotional, social, sexual, identity formation, and spiritual change and growth. Adolescent development, the transition to adulthood, can occur between ages 8 and 24.
By helping manage changes that are occurring, adolescents are allowed to develop core assets through experience, learning, and practice of skills that will lead to healthy adolescent development and delay pregnancy.
What are the financial skills that vulnerable youth need to invest in their future and delay parenthood?
Financial literacy means having the knowledge and skills to attend to personal finance needs. Financial literacy contributes to the financial health and stability of individuals and families. For teens, being equipped with financial education and skills can have a positive impact on their behavior and judgment.
Many states already require personal finance education to be covered to some extent in high school curricula, and the legislation authorizing PREP recognized the need to bolster financial literacy as one component of adolescent pregnancy prevention. Financial education programs address topics such as balancing a checkbook, managing a credit card, preparing a budget, taking out a loan, and buying insurance.
How can we encourage communication between vulnerable youth and their parents?
Positive communication between parents and children can help protect adolescents from unintended pregnancy, sexual risk-taking, and HIV and STD infections. Research has shown that by providing accurate information and creating open lines of communication, parents can increase their children’s adoption of safer behaviors, such as delaying sexual initiation and increasing the use of condoms and other contraceptives.
Out-of-home youth (e.g., youth in foster care) also need help to establish connections with caring, trusted adults who can provide guidance during adolescence. Caregiver-child communication is particularly important for out-of-home youth because they are especially vulnerable and at greater risk of having poor adult outcomes, like unemployment and high school incompletion.
Because many parents and caregivers are the primary sexuality educators for their children, it is important to boost their confidence and equip them with the appropriate resources to discuss sexuality and other risky behaviors.
What type of success inspires, motivates, and drives today's vulnerable youth?
Education and career success programs help youth prepare for their future by focusing on developing skills in areas such as employment preparation, job seeking, independent living, financial self-sufficiency, and workplace productivity. These programs generally seek to improve academic performance, increase school attendance, increase school engagement, or increase school completion. Often incorporated into these programs are mentorships, job skills training, and academic and career goal setting.
Research has found that dropping out of high school and becoming a teen parent go hand in hand. By helping vulnerable youth stay in school, we can help them avoid roadblocks to success, like early parenthood.
How can we help vulnerable youth face everyday demands and delay parenthood?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines life skills as "abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life." Training in healthy life skills, including communication, decision-making, coping, self-management, goal-setting, and avoidance of unhealthy behaviors can help vulnerable youth address everyday demands and delay parenthood.
Research has found that healthy life skills are more readily adopted when complemented by a specifically targeted health outcome or behavior change, like pregnancy prevention.
How can we help vulnerable youth form healthy relationships?
Relationship patterns learned in adolescence can carry forward into future relationships. Helping youth distinguish between healthy and unhealthy relationship patterns early on can have implications for young people's lifelong physical and emotional health and well-being and provide important skills to help reduce the potential for sexual risk and relationship violence.
Many existing school or community-based programs designed to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among youth focus on general sexual behaviors, but typically do so outside the context of adolescent relationships. Since most teenagers have their first sexual encounters within the context of dating relationships, it is important to teach youth how to build and navigate healthy relationships and end unhealthy ones. Help promote healthy relationships as part of your pregnancy prevention program.