Dynamic and Positive Role Models
P4T is a peer to peer education program that involves approximately 180 10-12th grade students from five Greater Mankato area high schools: East, West, Loyola, St. Peter, and Lake Crystal. They interview with the program director and school advisors to become P4T Peer Leaders, and if selected, attend a one-day training with their fellow peer leaders where they discuss various topics including healthy relationships, consent, sexual education, vaping, drugs/alcohol, body image and bullying. Once trained, peer leaders share these messages that promote healthy decision making with fifth–eighth graders through various methods including small group discussions, skits and role-playing. Community discussions and presentations are provided as well.
The 2013 Minnesota Student Survey, which was completed by public school students in grades 5, 8, 9, and 11 from across the state, provides some important state-wide, regional, and local data:
Research cited in A Work In Progress v.2: Building a Minnesota State Plan for Teen Pregnancy Prevention and Parenting (Center for Adolescent Health and Development, University of MN; 2003) notes that “peer relationships create both protective and risk factors. Teens continually and mutually influence each other, in both positive and negative ways. Youth who think their peers are sexually active have a greater risk of teen pregnancy then their counterparts.”
P4T Peer Leaders seek to foster a climate of respect and sense of connection among younger-age peers, to reinforce the notion that it is OK to say “no” to sexual activity, and to provide information/tools to prepare youth for situations that may put them “at risk”.
Project for Teen’s focus on teen pregnancy prevention has its roots in the early years of our organization when community members took action to address a significantly high rate of teen pregnancy, with particular concern about pregnancy involving younger-age teens. Ongoing evaluation and reflection efforts by Project for Teens’ Board of Directors (whose members represent a diverse range of community organizations/interests) have served to solidify its commitment to this focus area.