Think Now: Youth reproductive health campaign

The phrase “doing it” is usually a reference to sexual activity, but the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Action Group in Larimer County, or TPPAG, is trying to redefine that with their edgy new reproductive health campaign slogan, “doing IT? Think Now. Plan Ahead”. Kori Wilford, health educator with the Larimer County Department of Health & Environment’s Family Planning Program and co-facilitator of TPPAG, said the slogan catches people’s attention, which is the group’s goal.

“I think at first it can raise eyebrows,” Wilford said. “It’s kind of that catchy thing where it forces you to think, doing it? Doing what?”

The “it” that TPPAG is referring to is reproductive life planning, however that happens for an individual. Kim Sharpe, the other co-facilitator of TPPAG and coordinator of the Healthier Communities Coalition of Larimer County, explained that this kind of planning might have a different meaning for different youth.

The TPPAG came about after the Healthier Communities Coalition of Larimer County compiled data and statistics about youth health in their county in 2009. Some of their discoveries were concerning, said Sharpe.

“While the teen pregnancy rate in Larimer County is relatively low, the Latina pregnancy rate in Larimer County was increasing at an alarming rate,” Sharpe said. “We couldn’t pinpoint the reason that that was happening, we just knew that it was. Rather than just address that population, we thought we’d address everyone in the community. We brought people together intentionally.”

TPPAG is made up of youth as well as adults from a range of perspectives on reproductive health and life planning. Wilford said the group and campaign are meant to be youth-driven.

“This concept of positive youth development is really allowing teens to be part of an organization at every level,” Wilford said.

The group has launched a website, larimerdoingit.org, which includes a video entitled, “Larimer Teens are Doing it!” and a list of resources about medical services, life skills, STD testing, adoption services and birth control. They also have a Facebook page (Doing It? Think Ahead. Plan Now.) and Twitter feed (@LarimerDoingIt) where they post updates and articles on the topic of reproductive life planning. Their Facebook page has 90 “likes” and they have 60 Twitter followers.

Both Sharpe and Wilford said they’ve experienced no negative feedback.

“As far as we can tell, it’s been very positive,” Sharpe said.

Published in Loveland Reporter-Herald’s Health Line of Northern Colorado on 12/15/11. Below is a PDF of the published article.

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