The Jaguars Foundation is proud to recognize The Bridge of Northeast Florida for its success in preventing teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections through comprehensive education for children, teens and families. The Bridge is proud to have a 100% rate of avoiding pregnancy of students who attend the program more than 60 days.
The Bridge provides educational, health, job skills, mentoring and social programs to over 3,000 youth and families living in some of Jacksonville's most distressed neighborhoods. Health/sexuality education through the Straight Talk program is a core component of the nationally recognized comprehensive model programs offered at The Bridge. The Bridge was honored in 2006 as one of three statewide recipients of the Sapphire Award by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation for excellence in community health. "The Bridge was named a Sapphire Award winner because of the positive outcomes of its programs that are directed to the children and families in the neighborhood," said Susan B. Towler, Vice President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation.
Since 1999, through the Jaguars Foundation's Straight Talk grants, in partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and the Weaver Family Foundation, The Bridge has been awarded more than $500,000 for its Straight Talk program. The Bridge's Straight Talk program has three components:
TheFocus on Kidsand Our Whole Lives curriculums contain a series of sexuality education programs for youth ages 10 through young adults. They promote self-esteem and responsible decision-making and provide information on physical/emotional development, contraceptives and STIs. Classes are one hour per week for eight weeks. With this new curriculum, The Bridge continues to reach youth and families with a new and refreshing way to communicate with each other about sexuality education.
In 2010-11, The Bridge incorporated The Cultural Connection andResponsible Manhood programs with gender specific curriculum respectively for girls and boys, under the umbrella of* a new component calledMy Growth Plan. *This multi-year mindset and lifestyle development process uses the building of a Personal Growth Plan with step-by-step benchmarking to help high school age youth to develop and live their everyday life with a growth-planning mindset. Through this goal setting program, the youth can clearly see how teen pregnancy or getting a sexually transmitted infection can set them back on achieving their goals and being ready as an adult for responsible parenthood. Peer educators are selected from older mature teens with long tenure in the program.
"The investment by the Jaguars Foundation, Weaver Family Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida for education, public information and support to address the prevention of teen pregnancy demonstrates an exceptional awareness of the long term serious effects of teen pregnancy and its consequences. We are grateful to be a provider of honest, straightforward information with caring, informed and supportive staff on this topic that is often taboo and misunderstood. The feedback from our young people consistently emphasizes the need for this program," said Dr. Davy Parrish, President/CEO of The Bridge.
"The good news is that the program is achieving great success in helping teens make the right decisions to prevent pregnancy and infection," stated Delores Barr Weaver, Jaguars co-owner and Jaguars Foundation CEO/Chair. The Bridge reports that the youth made significant gains in knowledge about sexual health, pregnancy, STI's, and the consequences of sexual activity. They are communicating better with their parents and using skills to better assert themselves and avoid risky behavior. Mrs. Weaver added, "I am particularly pleased to see the increase in teen-parent communication and the positive feedback from parents regarding the program."
The Jaguars Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Jacksonville Jaguars serving socially and economically disadvantaged youth in the greater Jacksonville area. Straight Talk is a unique partnership with local media, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, the Weaver Family Foundation and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy to help prevent teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections among teens.
Under the leadership of Delores Barr Weaver; WJXT 4, WJCT PBS 7, WTLV NBC 12, WCWJ CW 17, WJXX ABC 25, WAWS FOX 30, WTEV CBS 47, Comcast Cable, Comcast On-Demand, The Florida Times-Union/jacksonville.com, Clear Channel Outdoor and PRI Productions collaborate to produce an annual prime time television town hall forum, "Teens & Sex…the Real Truth." The show offers candid information on teens and sex and the consequences faced by sexually active teenagers. Additionally, beginning in 1999, more than $2.1 million in Straight Talk grants has been awarded to local programs specifically dealing with this issue.
For more information about the Jaguars Foundation's Straight Talk program, please go to the Straight Talk website at: **www.straighttalk.jacksonville.com**.
For more information about The Bridge of Northeast Florida, please go to the website at: **www.bridgejax.com**
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit the websites at: ***www.bcbsfl.com**and**www.bluefoundationfl.com**.*