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.