The Straight Talk™ partnership of the Jaguars Foundation with all local TV networks, other media and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is initiating a new media campaign called "Talk the Talk – Walk the Talk" to help reduce the incidences of teen pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections among teens.
Delores Barr Weaver, team owner and Chair/CEO of the Jaguars Foundation wanted to take the Straight Talk message beyond the Foundation's annual show in May for a continuous reach year-round. Mrs. Weaver noted, "Since 1995, the Jacksonville media have been tremendous partners in their commitment to help prevent teen pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections through education and communication, and for years we saw teen pregnancy rates fall. However, after seeing teen pregnancy rates start to go back up, we knew we needed to do something beyond the show to help parents and teens to keep the lines of communication open when it comes to the topic of sex and its consequences. Our media partners have stepped up and allowed us access to the teens and parents through public service announcements being aired during popular programming."
The media partnership includes local network affiliates WCWJ CW 17, WAWS (FOX) 30, WTEV (CBS) 47, WTLV (NBC) 12 and WJXX (ABC) 25, along with the local National Public Television affiliate WJCT (PBS) 7, independent station WJXT 4, and Comcast Cable. CW 17 produced the PSA's at EverBank Field and distributed them for all TV partners to air. WJCT produced radio spots that are being distributed to local radio stations and being played on Jaguars programs and the pre- and post-game shows of the Jaguars radio network affiliates. The PSAs are also being aired in the stadium during Jaguars home games.
The "Talk the Talk"and"Walk the Talk" PSA's feature messages by Mrs. Weaver, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard, kicker Josh Scobee, punter Adam Podlesh, cornerback Derek Cox, running back Rashaad Jennings, tight end Zach Miller, and Linebacker Russell Allen; ROAR cheerleaders Kayla H., Kayla S., TaJonda and Ashley; and team mascot JAXSON de Ville.
Each of the PSA's invites viewers and listeners to go to the http://straighttalk.jacksonville.comwebsite, in partnership with The Florida Times-Union/jacksonville.com. Both parents and teens can access information from a list of excellent resources/websites from around the country. All of the PSAs can also been seen at http://straighttalk.jacksonville.com.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, after a nearly 40% drop in the teen pregnancy rates from 1991 and 2005, rates have again started to go back up. Currently, the nation's teen birth rate stands at 41.5 births per 1000 girls, ages 15-19 years. The teen birth rate has increased between 2005 and 2008 by 2.4%. Jacksonville rates continue to be higher than state and national averages. According to the Duval County Health Department, the Duval County teen birth rate stands at 44.0 births per 1000 girls ages 15-19 while the Florida (state) teen birth rate stands at 37.4 births per 1000 girls ages 15-19.
Sexually transmitted infections (STI's) such as Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are also at a higher rate in Duval County than the state with 1,010 girls per 100,000 girls contracting Gonorrhea and 4,772.7 girls per 100,000 girls ages 15-19 contracting Chlamydia. The state rate is 687 girls per 100,000 girls for Gonorrhea and 3575.1 girls for Chlamydia.
Foundation Executive Director Peter Racine said, "The media campaign focuses on three messages. First, 'open the door' of communication between parents and teens; second, provide factual information in a non-judgmental manner; and third, encourage responsible behavior, particularly focusing on male responsibility." Racine added, "Abstinence is our first choice for teens and the only 100% effective way to avoid pregnancy and STIs, but knowing that all youth will not honor that choice, we provide access through our website and grants to nonprofits to provide comprehensive sexual health information, so youth have knowledge and resources available to protect themselves if they choose to be sexually active and so they understand the potential consequences of their actions."
A recent survey with teens in the region done by the Northeast Florida Teen Pregnancy Task Force indicated overwhelmingly that teens want correct straightforward information about sex and its consequences. They also overwhelmingly indicated that they want to talk with their parents about these issues but it is often difficult to broach the subject. Task Force co-chair Joy Burgess said, "Teens face tremendous peer pressure to engage in sexual activity which results in life-long consequences. The work of the Jaguars Foundation and the media partners is critically important to get the message out to teens on how to rise above these pressures and reach adulthood, when they will be better equipped for the responsibility of having and raising children."
The Jaguars Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the NFL franchise Jacksonville Jaguars, serving socially and economically disadvantaged youth in the greater Jacksonville area. The Straight Talk program in partnership with the Jacksonville media was established in 1995 and the annual "Straight Talk –Teens & Sex…The Real Truth" has aired annually on all Jacksonville network affiliate and local TV stations since 2000.