Fairfield Community Health Partners held its second Community Health Assessment Summit focusing on Teen Pregnancy Prevention Feb.28 at Fairfield Central High School. Special thanks to attendees, including parents, students, County Councilwoman Mary Lynn Kinley, Brenda Jackson, former director of Fairfield You First Teen Pregnancy Prevention program (no longer in existence), members of Safer Choices who facilitated the youth discussion, members of REAL Teen Action, United Way of the Midlands for donating the food and prizes, Fairfield Central High School and the School District for hosting the event.
REAL Teen Action is a youth led organization designed for seventh- — ninth-grade students to develop alcohol, tobacco & violence prevention activities to demonstrate the REAL strategies (Refuse, Explain, Avoid, Leave) under the direction of Fairfield Behavioral Health Services. Safer Choices is a Peer Resource Team under the director of Mr. Rahim El-Amin, Assistant Principal, made up of 10th- —12th-grade students that promote healthy behaviors and educate their peers on various health related topics with a focus to prevent HIV infection, other STDs and unintended pregnancy.
After about 40 minutes of separate discussion, three youth (Kenneth Crumblin, Jared Houston and Mya Moore) shared THINGS TO THINK ABOUT to the adult group while three adults (Mandina Kennedy, Patti Wilkes and Marco Lamar) shared LESSONS LEARNED to the youth group. Some of the responses from the youth discussion facilitated by members of Safer Choices included the following:
• The group recognize that you can get pregnant your first time and with using a condom.
• The students felt that it was a “bad” thing to have a child as a teen.
o Too Young
o Not financially, emotionally, and mentally stable.
o A child raising a child.
• Teens engaged in sexual activity because of
o Peer Pressure
o Partner Pressure (Boyfriend/Girlfriend)
o Friends claiming to be sexually active so many engaged in sex to prove that they are “cool.”
o Receiving gifts in exchange for sexual favors (ex: McDonalds)
o Friends that already have babies and having the desire to also have a baby to be like their friends.
o Some girls think that it’s “cute” to have a baby so this is why they have sex.
o Parents not home at all times.
• Many youths “claim” that they are sexually active but really are not.
- Not everyone in the school is having sex but many are.
- It is OK to be a virgin for both girls and guys.
- Discussing Sex with Parents
o Some stated that they are able to talk about anything with their parents.
o Others felt that talking about sex with parents lead them to believe that they are sexually active or wanting to become sexually active.
o Some felt that their parents did not want to hear about sex.
o Parents were harder on the daughter than the son when it comes to sex.
Fairfield Community Health Partners meets on a monthly basis to assess, evaluate and identify ways to enhance communication and coordination among the county health and social service agencies in an effort to improve the health outcomes of the citizens of Fairfield County by maximizing our limited resources. With continued high unemployment rates and the devastating blow to our local economy more people have been forced to seek assistance. The impact has transcended in the health and social service arena as people neglect, ignore, or fail to improve or maintain a quality of life often times exacerbated by the lack of income. Now more than ever, there is a need to collaborate and pool resources to improve the continuity of care in Fairfield County. Recently, interviews were conducted with key community leaders in Fairfield County and the answers to the most important health needs and issues facing the community were identified. Our goal now is to find ways to best utilize our limited resources to address these issues.
In September 2008, Fairfield Community Health Partners developed a strategic plan with the help of consultants from the WeathersGroup Inc. provided by the SCDMH which resulted in the development of a vision/mission statements and values for the organization.
During the strategic plan process which included a compilation of data gathering, data analysis and interviews with local community leaders, the answers to the most important health needs and issues facing the community were identified and prioritized into three areas: obesity/nutrition, diabetes and teen pregnancy. Our goal now is to find ways to best utilize our limited resources to address these issues.
The first Community Health Assessment Summit focusing on the first two priority areas, Obesity/Nutrition and Diabetes, was held Nov. 9, 2010 at First Baptist Church in Winnsboro. Since then Health Partners combined its efforts with Fairfield Memorial Hospital’s Diabetes Education Program and Nutrition Council to form an Eat Smart Move More Chapter in which we hope to apply for grant funds in the very near future to implement some of our plans for the community. The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Summit allowed us to gather some much need input from youth and adults to help complete a strategic plan that will position us for statewide grant dollars as well. The Health Partners plan to complete the strategic plan by the end of April.