The Daily Southerner
Education is the key to lowering teen pregnancy rates in the region, according to local experts.
“When they come here, we talk with them about changing their lifestyle,” Kay F. Gurganus, executive director of the Pregnancy Care Center in Rocky Mount said. To her, “reinforcing abstinence” helps curb the teen pregnancy rate.
The center offers clients everything from vouchers for baby supplies to classes for expectant mothers and fathers to sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing and abstinence counseling. Gurganus said one of the primary reasons why teens become sexually active is because they feel pressured to do so.
“It’s a matter of encouraging them to know they don’t have to have sex,” Gurganus said. “The media plays a huge role in making it look like it’s all fun and games. Having a baby changes your whole life.”
The Community Enrichment Organization in Tarboro has a comprehensive sex education after-school program called “Making Proud Choices” to help prevent teen pregnancies
Another resource for teenage mothers in the county is Christian Social Ministries, the church committee at Tarboro’s Calvary Episcopal Church.
“We pair up church members with teen moms to try and help them get an education and take care of their children,” said Connie Hull, one of the churchwomen.
The churchwomen are having a quilt raffle in conjunction with their annual chicken salad luncheon, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. today in the church’s Memorial Hall. Raffle tickets are $3 each and the funds will be used to help pay the hospital bills of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani girl who was shot in pursuit of her education.
“Our church women decided on using the money for this cause just to make Edgecombe County aware of the importance of women getting an education,” Hull said. “We have a lot of teen mothers, single mothers and a lot of times they have to put off getting an education because they’re parents.”
Gloria Wooding made the quilt. Calvary Episcopal is at 411 East Church St. in Tarboro. Homemade cakes will be raffled at the luncheon as well.