The Tennessean (Nashville) (01.16.12) - Monday, January 23,
The PG-13 Players is a peer-based theater group that travels
to Middle Tennessee schools, churches, and community centers
to raise awareness about sexual health through skits written
and performed by teens.
The group is sponsored by Planned Parenthood, which provides
three weeks of training to the teens each summer. Participants
are taught correct condom use and data for topics ranging from
STDs and date rape to suicide and abuse. But the teens also
are given the freedom to tailor their messages based on what
they see in their high schools.
"We know what we would watch and what we would make fun of,"
said Dre Pinson, a senior at the Nashville School of the Arts.
"You just make it real. You take real issues that we see every
day and act it out." At the end of each performance, the teen
actors stay in character during a question-and-answer session.
Pinson recently played a teen who had just begun a sexual
relationship with his girlfriend of more than a year. After
three weeks, the girlfriend began feeling bad and decided they
should get tested for STDs at a free clinic. Pinson's
character was worried that getting tested would hurt.
Lyndsey Godwin, manager of education for Planned Parenthood of
Middle and East Tennessee, said the PG-13 Players are part of
Metro Nashville Public Schools' approved sex education
curriculum, though each school's administration determines
whether to invite the group to perform.
Planned Parenthood and Metro Nashville health officials say
the need for innovative educational efforts is great. The
state has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the
nation, while more than one-third of all chlamydia cases
reported in Tennessee are in people ages 15-19.