Five years ago, Scott Rich was the president of the Rotary Club of Thomasville. At that time, Rotary member Andre’ Marria approached Rich and the board of directors and ask for their local financial support of a Morehouse College School of Medicine Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI). TPPI is a federally funded initiative designed to reduce teen pregnancy rates and to serve approximately 3,450 middle and high school youth over a 5-year period in six Georgia Counties. Thomas and Grady counties were two of the counties served.
Goals of TPPI are:
1. Reduce teenage pregnancy and births
2. Reduce sexually transmitted infections among adolescents
3. Implement selected evidence-based curricula with fidelity
4. Increase student bonding to school and academic performance
5. Increase Community Awareness of Teen Pregnancy Prevention and Positive Youth Development Programs
With the approval of Rich’s board of directors, the Rotary Club of Thomasville committed $3000 in local funding to the TPPI project. In the following 4 years, succeeding Thomasville Rotary Club presidents, through their boards of directors, recognized the extreme importance of the project and continued the yearly financial support of the initiative.
During the 5 years of the project, 7500 teens were served by the program. Of the 7500 teens served, no pregnancies were reported and five of the teens began their college careers. In the last 5 years, the Rotary Club of Thomasville has given a total of $15,500 in local support of the TPPI which concluded June 30, 2020. Under the direction of the local Rotary Youth Services committee the Thomasville Rotary Club secured an additional $3500 in local funding through a Rotary District Grant. Total local funding provided TPPI during the life of the grant has been $19,000.
Nationally the grant is funded through the Federal Department of Health and Human Services and administered through the federal Office of Adolescent Health. The grant was awarded locally to the Margaret Neel Williams Boys and Girls Club with responsibility of reporting to a local Fidelity Manager on behalf of Morehouse. The Boys and Girls Club had responsibility to meet outcomes in the grant.
A unique outcome of the grant was the formation of the MNWBGC Youth Leadership Council. The grant required the YLC be formed from graduates of the TPPI. Teens could not be a member of the YLC unless they had completed one of three Abstinence or HIV curriculums taught by TPPI.
The overall design of the program encompasses teen education encouraging personal responsibility regarding the actions and health of teenagers.
The TPPI is managed by the Margarete Neel Williams Boys and Girls Club and the Youth Leadership Council (YLC). The YLC is a space for youth to team up with others, share ideas, create solutions, and put those solutions into action with the support from City agencies, schools, and community organizations.
Currently, the grant is in a period of ‘Sustainability.’ The Rotary Club of Thomasville will continue to financially support the program in 2020-2021.