Minnesota Organization on Adolescent
Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting

Press Release
** Photos Available **

For Release: May 15, 2000
Contacts: Nancy Nelson, 651-644-1447 or Wendy Audette, 651-644-1447

Leaders in Teen Pregnancy Prevention Recognized

(Brooklyn Center, MN) The leaders in the movement to prevent teen pregnancy and support teen parents were recognized recently at the Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting’s 2000 Annual Awards.

The award winners are:

Teens of the Year: Helena Hoff and Brandie Davis, Woodbury Junior High School; Kellen McWhite, Robbinsdale Armstrong High School
Program of the Year: North High School and Pilot City Health Center Peer Educators
Individuals of the Year: Ruth Hiland and Nathan Blake
Policymakers of the Year: Minnesota Senator Linda Higgins and Minnesota Senator Sheila Kiscaden

"The award winners were selected based on their leadership and contributions to the prevention of teen pregnancy," says Nancy Nelson, MOAPPP’s Executive Director. "Each of these individuals and programs have made a significant and lasting impact on the lives of teenagers throughout Minnesota."

Despite a downward trend in the teen birth rate in Minnesota, early pregnancy is an issue that continues to affect more than 8,000 Minnesota teenagers each year. Minnesota ranks among the highest in the nation in the birth and pregnancy rates in our communities of color.

A brief description of each award winner is attached.

MOAPPP is a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to strengthen the policies and programs related to adolescent pregnancy, prevention and parenting in Minnesota. MOAPPP is the statewide leader in pregnancy prevention information exchange, awareness and advocacy.

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2000 MOAPPP Annual Award Recipients

Teens of the Year
Helena Hoff and Brandie Davis are students and peer educators at Woodbury Junior High School. Helena and Brandie have committed significant time and energy to the FATE (Fighting AIDS through Education) program and were active in organizing and promoting World AIDS Day in their school. Working together, Helena and Brandie developed presentations for 8th graders on understanding sexual health and HIV/AIDS and participated as citizen advocates for the STD Prevention Bill on AIDS Action Day.

Kellen McWhite attends Robbinsdale Armstrong High School in Plymouth, where he is a "Dads Make a Difference" trainer. Kellen is an active peer educator who works with students to help them understand the legal, financial and emotional responsibilities of parenting. Kellen also actively recruits other students to participate in "Dads Make a Difference," providing essential leadership and helping to ensure the stability of the program in the school.

Program of the Year
For more than a decade, the North High School and Pilot City Health Center Peer Educators have been committed to improving the health and welfare of teenagers throughout North Minneapolis. Reaching more than 2,000 students, community members and health professionals each year, the Peer Educators have carried messages that help teens understand health issues and avoid early pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. In fact, for the 2000 school year, 65 students applied for the 5 open Peer Educator positions. In particular, Lisa Turnham, who coordinates the Peer Educator program, has skillfully opened the door to new opportunities for this landmark program.

Individuals of the Year
Ruth Hiland is the School Social Worker at Minneapolis Southwest High School Teen Age Pregnancy and Parenting Program. Ruth has worked with adolescent parents for more than 28 years, helping them develop their full potential and realize greater parenting skills and increased self-sufficiency.

Nathan Blake, a senior at St. Olaf College, is active in Northfield/Faribault’s Project SIGHT program. Through his example, young men throughout the community have come to realize that they are an essential element of any effective teen pregnancy prevention program.

Policymakers of the Year
Minnesota Senator Linda Higgins co-authored the Adolescent Parent Grant Program in 1997 that currently provides $1 million to 8 communities for school-based teen parent services. As a member of the Family & Early Childhood Education Finance Committee, Senator Higgins has tirelessly advocated for resources and services to meet the needs of young parents and their children. Senator Higgins has encouraged teens to participate in legislative hearings, making sure their voices are part of the policymaking process.

Senator Sheila Kiscaden has been a leader in addressing adolescent pregnancy prevention and parenting issues in the Minnesota Senate. As a member of the Health & Family Security Committee, Senator Kiscaden has tirelessly and courageously advocated for issues and programs that benefit teenagers throughout Minnesota.

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