STUDY A new pregnancy prevention program, " Time To Be A Girl," was developed by Jacksonville's PACE Center for Girls with funding from the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation's Straight Talk Program. A study by Rokicki and Associates, an independent research firm, found that of the 167 at-risk teenage girls involved in the program:
-- 95% did not become pregnant
-- 96% remained free of sexually transmitted diseases and infections, including HIV;
-- 90% increased their knowledge of birth control options.
The success of the program's approach is prompting its incorporation into PACE's gender specific life skills curriculum, SPIRITEDGIRLS!' which will be utilized in PACE centers across the state.
The basis for the "Time To Be a Girl" program is the understanding that at risk girls have been robbed of their childhood innocence by circumstances and experiences, being too quickly thrust into the responsibilities and demands of womanhood without proper training and development. In this program they are encouraged to experience the innocence of girlhood while at the same time taught what it means to be strong, responsible women, physically, socially emotionally and spiritually. Time To Be a Girl reduces risk factors such as favorable attitudes toward early sexual activity, drug and alcohol abuse, peer pressure and violence/date rape and increases protective factors, including bonding with a caring adult, personal safety, and building positive self-esteem.
Straight Talk is a program created and led by Delores Barr Weaver, co-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars and chair and CEO of the Jaguars Foundation, that targets teen pregnancy and STI prevention through a partnership with local media and grants. Straight Talk includes: annual live television production of a town hall forum; production of a teen-focused video; Public Service Announcements in the stadium and on television; a web site in partnership with the Florida-Times Union (http://straighttalk.jacksonville.com); and in conjunction with Weaver Family Foundation, has awarded nearly $350,000 in grants.
The Jaguars Foundation focuses on support for economically and socially disadvantaged youth in the Jacksonville area through grant making and other programs.
PACE Center for Girls, Inc. provides girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, training, counseling, and advocacy. A national organization, PACE Center for Girls operates 19 centers throughout Florida and provides training and technical assistance consulting services to those working with at-risk girls throughout the country.
Rokicki and Associates, Inc. is an independent research firm, headquartered in Coral Springs, Florida, that focuses on new product development in the postsecondary area, and in conducting program/contract evaluations meeting the exacting requirements of funding agencies.