New Study Links Teen Pregnancy and Dropout, Spotlights Solutions

A new report released by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy shows that teenage pregnancy and high school dropout are linked. This newly released report puts the spotlight on innovative ways that some school systems—particularly those with low achievement levels and high birth rates—are working together with organizations that oversee teen pregnancy prevention programs to help teens avoid pregnancy and parenthood and go on to complete their high school education.

Key highlights include the following facts:

  • Parenthood is a leading cause of school dropout among teen girls. In fact, this is true for 30% of all teen girls, with minorities having higher rates (36% for Hispanic girls and 38% for African American girls).
  • One in three (34%) teen mothers earned neither a diploma nor a GED, compared with only six percent of young women who had not had a teen birth.
  • Over the course of a lifetime, a college graduate will earn, on average, $1 million more than a high school dropout. Over the course of his or her lifetime, a single high school dropout costs the nation approximately $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes and productivity.

The report then lists various ways that communities across the United States are working on the issue and offers the following strategies to address the link between teen pregnancy and high school dropout with education leaders and community partners. They suggest the following:

  • Ask parents (input from parents can lead to rich data or bottom-up strategies)
  • Educate community leaders and parents
  • Professional development for district staff and teachers
  • Periodic outreach to school administrators
  • Enlist new champions
  • Share best practices with other communities or states

To learn more, read the full report here.

#3 – Federal Support for Teen Health

11 in ’11: As we close out the year, we reflect upon and celebrate achievements for youth in our community in 2011. Check back as we count down to the new year! Click here to view the whole list!

Last year, the Office of Adolescent Health took a hard look at teen pregnancy prevention programs and chose to invest two-thirds of  $105 million to replicate evidence-based prevention programs, including Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program (TOP).

OAH Director Evelyn Kappeler has said, “Using evidence-based models isn’t just a buzz word – it is putting the best science to work to improve outcomes and make the best use of taxpayer dollars.  Resources aren’t unlimited, and so it only makes sense to make investments where science tells us the payoff will be highest.”

Since that time, Wyman’s National Network has grown from 4 to 39 partner organizations nationwide, delivering Wyman’s TOP to over 44,000 young people – developing healthy behaviors, life skills and a sense of purpose.

“The ability to reach thousands more teens nationwide and for Wyman’s TOP® to be delivered with fidelity in so many additional communities is an exciting opportunity that will positively change the life prospects of the teens and, through them, their communities,” said Dave Hilliard, President of Wyman.

Although the HHS funding was aimed at reducing teen pregnancy, Wyman’s TOP was selected because research has shown it is a program that helps young people to develop all skill sets that encourage positive healthy decision making and successful home, school and work lives.

Wyman’s TOP Training Model – One of the ways we set up our partners for success!

It’s nice to receive encouragement for our work on the national scale. Check out what Benita Decker from, Kentucky Department of Public Health, has said about her training experience with Wyman’s National Network:

Hi.  I just finished my first facilitator training.  14 ladies are now certified TOP facilitators in KY.  I have to say that it was a huge success.  I just want to thank you again for a fabulous training in August.  I would not have been able to do this without being able to model you.  When I got a little “slushy”, I would just think, “What would Wyman’s Trainers do?”

Everyone had a great time and there was very good feedback.  You all are the best and have been thought of often over the last week.  Next week I go to Prestonsburg deep in the mountains.  I have 7 or 8 signed up for that event.  I am feeling more confident about that one now that I have a training under my belt.  I am so excited that this training went well and that it was truly fun- I just had to say thanks.  You are the best.

This is one of many great encouragements we’ve received for our efforts to replicate our evidence-based/proven-to-work youth development program, TOP. Wyman is committed to ensuring that anyone who partners with us is setup for success. The Wyman National Network training model is just one of the many ways that we ensure that our partners feel supported and prepared to deliver Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program to achieve outcomes in their own communities. Want to get in on this SAHMSA approved method for helping teens survive and thrive? Find out how your agency can become a partner by visiting here.

How are youth in your state?

Great organizations publish data on youth every year. Have you seen the numbers for your state? Check out the Children’s Defense Fund for 2011 figures for your state.

According to their data, each day in America:

  • 3,312 high school students drop out.*
  • 4,133 youth are arrested.
  • 4,717 babies are born to unmarried mothers.
  • 18,493 public school students are suspended.

*Based on calculations per school day (180 days of seven hours each).

AmeriCorps Members to Mentor Wyman Teens

In August, Wyman will welcome six AmeriCorps members to the Wyman team to work with young people in the Teen Leadership (TLP) and Teen Outreach Programs (TOP®)! This is a wonderfully unique opportunity for Wyman teens to be mentored and supported by people who are committing a year of their lives to service in their community – a powerful example as Wyman programs encourage young people to be involved in their communities, as well.

Two members will be working with Wyman’s TLP to focus on community service learning opportunities with teens and supporting school success and college access. Four others will be working with Wyman’s TOP across in-school, community-based, and after-school sites.

Wyman is one of six St. Louis based nonprofits that received a share of $1.5 million in AmeriCorps grants from the Corporation of National and Community Service. AmeriCorps engages with 80,000 Americans of all ages. Their members serve through more than 14,000 nonprofit and faith-based organizations across the nation.

Wyman’s TLP uses a progressive year-round approach over five years to support healthy teen development, leadership skills and college access. Wyman’s TOP has proven highly effective in increasing school success and protecting youth from risk factors that contribute to school dropout and teen pregnancy, by providing young people with the supports and opportunities that lead to healthy decision making, life skills and a sense of purpose.

Community Partner: McCarthy Building Companies

McCarthy Building Companies first became involved with Wyman in 1999. From employee volunteer days on Wyman’s main campus to raising funds for the organization during McCarthy’s Charity Classic, McCarthy has supported Wyman in a variety of ways over the years. McCarthy President and COO Derek Glanvill served on Wyman’s board of directors from 2006 to 2008, and McCarthy Central Division President Scott Wittkop, a current board member, has served since 2008.

“As a leading national builder and steward of community outreach, McCarthy sees how great the impact can be to society and our industry from programs such as TOP,” said Wittkop. “Members of our team volunteer with Wyman in hopes of assisting program participants in their journey toward a productive adulthood. The support we, as professionals, can offer these young people will absolutely shape our leaders of tomorrow. To see what began as a local program grow to national significance shows each of us that we can and should work each day to make a difference.”

McCarthy recently shared the story of Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program (TOP) with their national audience. You can read about the national expansion of Wyman’s TOP in the McCarthy article here.

Praise for Wyman’s TOP

In the last couple of weeks, the latest research and commentary surrounding evidence-based programming for teens has praised Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program (TOP) as a program that is achieving real results for the young people it serves.
New research from Child Trends names Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program (TOP) as a program proven to lower rates of teen pregnancy, school suspension and course failure – specifically with African American and Latino/Hispanic youth.
The National Collaboration for Youth, a 40+ year coalition of leading national nonprofit youth development agencies, released a brief on the impact of youth development programs on student academic success. The brief cites evaluations and profiles of a sample of diverse community-based programs that affect student performance and reduce negative outcomes. Among them – Wyman’s TOP. The brief cites the importance of a full-range of developmental assets, in school, in the home and in the community, that youth need to succeed. It indicates that “meaningful progress in improving educational outcomes must involve multiple stakeholders and a variety of sustained efforts over time. “It’s great that education reform and high school graduation rates are getting the attention they require,” said Irv Katz, President of the National Human Services Assembly and a representative of the National Collaboration for Youth, “but we’re missing the boat if we don’t actively and aggressively involve the youth development programs that collectively reach nearly as many children as the public schools and that have no objective other than to help youth succeed in life.”

Healthy Responsibility Through Service: STL American Article

Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program was featured in the Health Matters section of The St. Louis American, today.
If imitation is the highest form of flattery,the Wyman Center’s Teen Outreach Program, earns TOP honors nationwide for its evidence-based approach to teenage pregnancy prevention and building the skills in male and female youth to improve their lives in other important areas as well – school completion, personal responsibility, work ethic and service.
Follow this link to read the full article.

Wyman Partners Feature Prominently in HHS Announcement of Funding Recipients

St. Louis MO, October 8, 2010 – The United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health has announced the recipients of $75 million in annually renewable, 5-year grants for organizations replicating evidence-based programs that have been proven through rigorous evaluation to reduce teenage pregnancy, behavioral risks underlying teenage pregnancy, or other associated risk factors. As much as one third of the HHS funding in the Tier 1 Teenage Pregnancy Prevention category was awarded to 17 providers who have agreed to partner with St. Louis-based Wyman to deliver Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program (TOP) to their constituents. Through partnerships with these providers – Wyman’s TOP will reach up to 100,000 more young people nationwide over the next five years. The funding will create enormous representation in the state of Florida and the city of Chicago, Illinois reaching nearly 70,000 teens over five years between the two.

The funding also allows Wyman’s newly funded replication partners to lay the groundwork to begin serving teens beyond their current capacity. “The ability to reach thousands more teens nationwide and for Wyman’s TOP to be delivered with fidelity in so many additional communities is an exciting opportunity that will positively change the life prospects of the teens and through them their communities,” said Dave Hilliard, President and CEO of Wyman Center.

As the owner of TOP, Wyman leads and manages a national network of well qualified replication partners, which it trains, certifies, supports and whose performance it monitors to ensure TOP is replicated with fidelity. Wyman also leads and facilitates knowledge sharing and manages outcome data analysis to ensure the program’s positive outcomes for teens are being realized. Wyman’s partners, through HHS, have been awarded more than $25M collectively (per year for 5 years) to bring this program to their communities and while the vast majority of those dollars are being used in those communities in direct service to teens; each grant recipient must contract with Wyman for training, ongoing certification, technical assistance and support services.

Even with its fast growing national network of partners, Wyman Center continues to view direct service to St. Louis teens as its most important work. Wyman programs serve 1,000 local teens annually and Wyman and its local partners are continually looking for resources and partnerships to dramatically expand TOP for teens in the St. Louis region. Wyman is a proud member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, whose annual contributions provide significant support for Wyman’s direct services in this community.
Although the HHS funding was aimed at reducing teen pregnancy, Wyman’s TOP was selected because research has shown it is a comprehensive youth development program that when delivered with fidelity, promotes resiliency and well-being (good mental health) by building important skills and competencies that result in dramatic, statistically significant improved outcomes in a variety of areas – from reducing rates in teen pregnancy, school failure and dropout to increasing good decision making, personal responsibility and community service. It’s grounded in contemporary research and theory regarding the developmental, social, mental health and educational needs of young people, especially those in 6th to 12th grade. Wyman’s TOP helps young people to develop all skill sets that encourage positive healthy decision making and successful home, school and work lives.