Journal Times (Racine) (10.30.2013)
The Journal Times reported about a local Racine, Wis., event that used multiple types of audience participation to help raise awareness among teenagers regarding the potentially harmful consequences of their sexual actions. The event was part of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), a community program that works to reduce teen pregnancy and STDs.
Event speakers asked some audience members to groan after learning that 269 Racine teenagers ages 10–19 tested positive for chlamydia last year. They asked the crowd to cheer for selected audience members whom the speakers identified as using protection or choosing abstinence as ways to protect themselves from contracting diseases. PREP meant for the exercise to educate local teens and their parents about Racine’s core message: teens should stay abstinent, but if they chose to have sex, they needed to be educated and safe.
Racine has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancies and STDs in Wisconsin. Prior to the PREP event, the program held community discussions with parents to measure their knowledge of teen pregnancy and STD rates and to encourage them to talk with their teenagers about sexual health. “That’s why we’re holding this event, so we can talk to you and you can talk to your kids,” said Sarah Martin, a PREP administrator with the YMCA. The Racine Family YMCA, which receives federal funding through the Affordable Care Act to provide PREP, is one of a group of local stakeholders to increase awareness about the problem of STDs and teen pregnancy.