** Photos Available **
For Release: May 15, 2000
in Teen Pregnancy Prevention Recognized
Contacts: Nancy Nelson, 651-644-1447 or Wendy Audette, 651-644-1447
(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
Parentings 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, MOAPPPs 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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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/Faribaults 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
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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